Social media permeates every aspect of our lives. Good or bad, its where many people obtain their “news” and is even said to have the power to elect presidents. So with virtually everyone (pun intended) on some form of social media or another, it is no wonder that everything from small family owned businesses to large corporations have taken to one or many of these platforms in order to listen to, communicate with and advertise to their customer base.
Surely everyone has seen and been annoyed by the incessant ads on Facebook. Some even appear as if they are actual posts in your news feed made by someone you follow. These ads are a result of calculated algorithms that are analysed against your web searches, clicks and comments, but that is a post for an entirely different day.
I could write an entire series on how to effectively use social media, depending on your goal, there are multiple uses for Twitter alone. It can be used to obtain ‘in the moment and on the scene’ news by searching hashtags and it can be a good way to share a breaking story or find out if your cable or cell services are down in your area. Furthermore, it can be a fantastic way to connect customers and clients to business and services on a brief but more personal level and that is what this blog post is about.
While I am not quite sure about the effectiveness, nor am I a fan of such overt in-your-face advertising spam, I cannot imagine that anyone really enjoys existing in a social media vacuum; most people generally want to be heard, understood and acknowledged. I unquestionably believe that the businesses who pay attention and respond to their mentions and hashtags on twitter really hit the nail on the head.
Now I am not certain if these twitter-fantastic personalities are run by the companies themselves, social media companies, or a blend of the two- but I am quite confident in saying that responding to tweets with witty repartee stuffed in 140 characters or less and staying engaged with your client base on a more personal and sometimes humorous level absolutely changes the entire customer experience.
I find myself tweeting about my general “goings on” quite frequently. It can be more convenient than the cumbersome Facebook, and my friends/followers don’t feel the same obligation to ‘like’ or respond to each and every post. I can also tweet incessantly about a product or service without flooding someone’s news feed. (unless you only follow me and a handful of infrequent tweeters, in which case lets get together so I can show you how awesome it can be if used properly!)
What have I learned, gained, accomplished in my tweeting experience?
Well, not all companies are the same. (Obviously, right?)
But it really is THAT simple.
I can be sitting in Red Robin, and tweet about my experience- and …crickets. No, there weren’t crickets in my food, silly. You know the saying- “I hear crickets” meaning it was so silent I could hear the crickets outside. It has been weeks and I have received nary a word from the multiple hashtags and @ tweets I have strategically pointed in their direction.
But when I mention Red Robin and Applebees in the same tweet, the Applebees social media expert (assuming here. I have no idea who runs the campaign) was quick to respond with friendly quick rejoinder.
When I went off on an asparagus tirade about the anemic looking dish I received at Carrabbas, they were quick to respond and attempt to address the issue.
When I found myself trapped overnight in DFW Airport, I made every attempt that a 44 year old exhausted and bummed being stuck for 24 hours in an airport could make to remain positive, and tweeted out to my friends showing them my “accommodations” for the night. That is what drove my previous blog post. The response from Dallas Fort Worth Airport was incredible. If you didn’t read what they did, check it out here.
Not all social media results will be equal. I initially felt snubbed by Carrabbas once the issue left the hands of the social media team. (which reminds me, I did finally receive an email from the managing partner, I need to reply to that as it was much appreciated!) ..and my friends still text me random pictures of asparagus… and Applebees… while I have not had any complaints for them to address, so I can’t speak to how that would be handled, the personality behind their social media absolutely compels me to visit more often. They even ended a tweet with the hashtag #applebae , which made me ‘snort-laugh’.
Olive Garden similarly has a great social media personality and responds like you are old friends teasing one another. Might they be friends with Applebees? Even for companies or restaurants that don’t have a twitter presence, when I tweet about them using a hashtag, I have received responses from other patrons who appreciated my mention.
I know that tweeting your pleasure or dissatisfaction with random restaurants or services may seem inconsequential or trivial, but to the contrary. Its nice to know that people are listening. Its even better when they have a great, fun personality.
I have received better customer care via social media than I have ever received by picking up the phone and talking to a person. Sometimes, its just knowing that IF there IS an issue, you know SOMEONE is listening and can get you to the right person. Yes, it makes all the difference.
I have tweeted about my disdain for my current cellular provider, only to receive quick friendly responses from competitive carriers with great offers.I have complained via tweet to UPS about a lost package that phone support could not resolve… they quickly fixed the issue once the tweeting began.
Oh and hey, businesses? Sometimes, its as simple as an airport saying “welcome home” or acknowledging your customer’s mentions that make all the difference in the world.
But if all else fails, customers- and your tweets go unanswered… you can hashtag the hell out of that baby and create a tweet-storm that tells the twitterverse all about the service, or lack thereof that you have received. #Win
TOP 3 Positive Social Media Experience thus far:
@DFWAirport – Dallas Fort Worth Airport
@Applebees – Applebees Restaurant -Fantastic personality and interaction
@OliveGarden – Fantastic Personality
Good Tweeters that Listen:
@United – United Airlines, at least just before the recent ‘issues’ they responded kindly and addressed my concerns.
No response (there are too many to write, but more recently:)
@IAH (Dallas Airport)