Bueller... Bueller... Is anyone there??
Ever feel like the teacher in Ferris Bueller, when you've felt the urgency to call out a company via twitter or any other social media platform? It might have been because the company recently did something awesome, you had a question about something or you are fuming from a negative experience. Either way you've decided you want the world to know, so you put it out there awaiting a response. And then....Bueller...Bueller. Is it ok for a company to be absent online?
Social Media Is Not A One Way Street
No, it's not! When a company creates social media accounts, they should not be absent from the conversations that are happening where everyone can see.
I recently was away at my parent's cottage in a small town in New Hampshire. We lost power (note the beautiful beer bottle candle holders we created) and of course being a typical consumer, I went to their website for information, but there were no updates. So then I searched for their Facebook page. TIP: If you have social media accounts, list them on your website. On their Facebook Company Page they had a couple updates, but I noticed many people were commenting, and the company was not responding. It's frustrating when you are in a not ideal situation and no one will communicate back with you. We understood that the situation was difficult for the utility company, and all we wanted was an honest answer. Should we be running to the store for more ice? Or will the power be back on in an hour? We ended up having no power for about 30 hours, so we stocked up on ice, luckily we had propane grills to cook our dinner and we made many phone calls since no one would respond to our questions on Facebook.
Social media marketing can not be a one way street. You can not just talk about yourself and ignore your visitors. Your audience expects you to:
- RESPOND IN A TIMELY MANNER! When your company is tweeted at for something positive or negative you should respond ASAP. It's especially important for negative comments. Try and put out that fire quickly before they get more users involved.
- BE TRANSPARENT! Don't give a canned response of "Thank you for your interest! Have a great day!" Don't be a robot! Even if it's a tough question and it's a tough pill to swallow, be honest with your audience! It's a lot worse to lie and tell someone their power is going to be back on in a couple hours, when in reality you know it's not going to happen for a very long time.
- BE HELPFUL & ANSWER THE QUESTION! If you don't know the answer, ask someone who does. I recently saw someone tweet to a company asking if they had a particular product. The first company representative responded telling them to email someone and ask them. Then 3 hours later someone else responded informing them they had the product and provided the link. Shouldn't this have been the first and only response? Make sure you have the right person in charge of your social media accounts.
Bottomline, you must be "social" if you are going to partake in social media marketing. Think of it as putting your best salesperson in front of your prospects and customers 24 hours day. You've got to show a personality, knowledge and compassion.
Here are a couple examples of companies being present on social media:
Thank you to Southwest Airlines for holding the plane for my brother-in-law, nephew and teammates.
I found this one mentioned on Buffer. Thank goodness someone was still monitoring the twitter account or this guy would have had a long lonely night. And notice it went viral!
Have any other great examples of a company being truly present online? Or have a question? Let us know in the comments below.