It’s an undeniable fact that social media marketing is one of the most popular internet marketing strategies being used by top brands as well as small businesses.
But the question is how well your business or brand is making use of social media? Has your business made provision for customer support or customer service through social media?
No wonder top brands are now making use of the platform not only for business marketing and promotion, but also for customer service and support.
When the table of social media marketing turns?
Top brands are now spending a large chunk of their budget on social media marketing as it is potentially one of the most effective and efficient advertising strategies.
But it’s not just about using social media to market your business. How about when the table turns against your business?
You know how quickly the message spread on social media? How about when your business reputation is attacked on social media?
What every business on social media should understand is that marketing tools on these platforms are not only available to top brands. Other users can also access some of these great social media marketing tools.
This is where businesses on social media need to be careful. They have to instantly adapt to the changing nature of online marketing, brand loyalty and customer service.
Social media marketing and British Airways
Just like every other top brands, British Airways also uses social media platforms such as Twitter to reach out to a global audience.
Just last month, British Airways warmed our hearts with their Youtube campaign, Visit Mum, which went viral. The campaign was a success for British Airways and it attracted a huge response from users on social media (see below).
— A Yusuf (@aboutabeer) July 31, 2013
But one-way marketing can only go so far. Social media has now come back to bite them. It’s not uncommon for airlines to lose bags. But it’s unheard of, for an angry passenger, to buy a promoted tweet to vent his/her frustrations when baggage is lost. And that just happened!
A furious British Airways passenger used promoted tweet to complain to the world about ‘lost luggage’. Twitter user Hasan Syed bought a promoted tweet through the site’s self-service ad platform and tweeted a series of messages criticising the loss of the luggage and the delayed response.
Don't fly @BritishAirways. Their customer service is horrendous.
— (@HVSVN) September 2, 2013
Even though BA responded and apologised for the delayed response, the damage has already been done. Hasan Syed took his grievance against BA to a whole new level, and probably setting a precedence for other disgruntled customers to take on social media to complain about certain service providers.
Managing your business online reputation
From booking your hotel online to shopping on e-commerce websites like eBay and Amazon, the advent of the Internet has made things easier for all of us. Businesses are also massively enjoying the benefits of having an online presence.
The Internet has also helped improved the way businesses interact with their customers and this is why it’s important for brands to properly manage their online reputation. Below are some ways through which a businesses can positively and effectively manage their online reputation.
#1). Set aside time and urgently respond complains
It’s imperative for businesses to understand the fact that information travels so fast like a flash of lightning on social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. For this reason alone, businesses have to set time aside to manage their presence online.
British Airways responded to Mr Hasan about 7 hours after the tweet was sent out, exactly at 9am London time. That’s not good enough considering the size of the company. Every business, especially big brands, should have a standard operating procedure (SOP) for such incidences.
#2). Convert angry customers to brand advocates
Angry customers such as Hasan Syed in the case study of British Airways can also be converted to brand advocates if the issue is properly managed by the company.
Businesses should realise that an angry customer is not just angry for fun sake, there must be something about the company that makes him/her angry. Therefore, an angry and upset customer whose problem was solved is more than likely to become a brand advocate.
#3). Create a digital customer service
It’s very important for the customer service department to work with the social media team to create a digital customer service and crisis communications plan.
Customers venting their frustrations online is a common occurrence. So why not just have a process for handling such instances?
Mr Hasan’S tweet bombarded British Airways with bad PR – with the airline eventually responding and promising to ‘look into’ the claim.
Therefore, businesses should realise that we are in digital age and that how the business is seen in the public eye dealing with issues online can either enhance or break their reputation.
Conclusion on social media and brand reputation
It’s time for businesses to take how they deal with issue on social media really serious as the negative as well as the positive implications are tremendous.
Almost everyone has access to social media and couple with the fact that news travels really fast, there is a need for businesses to adapt and equip their customer service well against such incidences as Mr Hasan’s and British Airways.
The fact is that for every thousand happy customers, there is always one or even more who isn’t. So, dealing with customer’s complains especially on social media platform like Twitter in the nick of time will further strengthen the company relationship with their customers.
If a man whose father’s bag British Airways lost can spend money to buy a promoted tweet against British Airways on social media and target New York City and UK markets, then there are more unhappy customers out there that can also do the same.