Quit Brand Bashing on Social Media
When Facebook and Twitter started up, brand marketers got what they have been longing for since the dawn of marketing time: a true dialog with the consumer. And whether or not consumers had been longing for the same, they certainly got it. Early adopters of social networks quickly saw their opportunity to have a front seat with their favorite and least-liked brands. Have a problem? Send a tweet or make a post, get a response, and – woohoo! – all is resolved. Great for good customers who have a reasonable, resolvable issue. Bad for complainers who abuse the system in the hopes of getting free stuff – which is ultimately bad for good customers as well, since brands either can’t keep up with the complainers or simply refuse to do so. (According to recent studies, less than 30% of companies answer customer complaints on Twitter. Let’s face it: when you have 10 million fans, you can’t read let alone respond to every post. And you may not want to.)
With the majority of Americans involving social media in their daily lives, people should be cognizant of the “social” part of social media. If you’re the person who does nothing but complain to everyone you meet, you likely won’t be receiving too many party invitations. Similarly, if all you do is bash brands with every tweet, post or check in, those brands may stop acknowledging you and your bad-mouthing. Should they? That’s a tough call – the brands for which my company provides social media services are all highly responsive. However…there is a trend to shy away from hyper-responsiveness, perhaps as a way to encourage consumers to utilize other, less public, existing channels of customer service.
By no means am I saying that people shouldn’t share their feedback with brands – and brands should ALWAYS welcome fan candor. What I am saying, is that people should stop wielding the brand bashing hammer via social media as their first line of outreach. Try calling or emailing customer service – or for retailers, show up and ask to speak to the manager. It may sound old fashioned, but that is what brands with good social media will direct you to do anyway. Why? Because it works. And the fact that you did it on your own, without feeling the need to get out the social media megaphone, may lend more credibility to your feedback. When you get a response and (hopefully) your issue is resolved, why not choose to tweet about THAT? Let’s get some more positivity into social media – that’s definitely a way to get on your favorite brand’s radar.
Oh, and what if they fail in their resolution attempt – or fail to respond at all? Well then you have the green light to blast away via blog, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, YouTube, Foursquare, LinkedIn…whatever floats your social media boat.