The Value of Social Media

This week a British Airways (BA) traveler purchased a sponsored Twitter Ad to defame the Airline after an unpleasant customer service experience.  The Twittersphere was a flutter (pun intended) asking why he purchased the ads and how much he spent.  The conversation spread as individuals’ rallied around the angry traveler and BA.  To read the full story click here.

It took the Airlines 10 hours to respond to the disgruntled Tweeter, eventually apologizing claiming they only operate their social media on a 9 – 5 schedule.

BA airlines blog

There are many lessons to be learned from this PR and social media case study.  Here are 5 to take from this social media flub:

  1. Social media isn’t about being present, it is about having a presence.  Therefore you need to be online, ready to respond 24/7.
  2. Being on social media isn’t about sharing the latest news about your business and talking about you.  It is about building relationships with your customers, engaging your audience and most importantly listening to what your customers are saying.
  3. When negative comments occur, jump on immediately and set the record straight.  Go above and beyond to make it right for this person.  Not only showing them you are a stand up brand but showing all the other social media users who are listening as well.
  4. Set alerts to notify you when your business is being talked about.  Better yet, set up alerts about your competitors so you can jump in the conversation to turn the scenario in your favor.
  5. When apologizing be genuine and don’t give an excuse.  There was no need for the world to know BA was on a 9 – 5 social media schedule.  It actually makes the brand appear worse.

Strategy / Implementation / Communication:
If this were to occur with your business the important thing is to put out the fire instantly.  Respond to the complainant and resolve the issue immediately.  Next release a statement on your website and social media accounts apologizing to all brand users.  Make sure you promise to reevaluate the situation to prevent future issues.  Then – reevaluate the situation to prevent future issues.  If this happens again with no resolve plan on calling the big guns and paying much more money to clean up your reputation.

Clients often ask me for the return on investment (ROI) for social media.  Social media updates cannot be directly linked to sales.  However, here is a great case study of the value of social media and the ROI for your reputation.

The Twitter user spent $1,000 in this campaign for 76.8K impressions and 14.6K engagement opportunities.twitter spend

Point of this Case Study?  The numbers speak for themselves.  Can you afford NOT to be on social media?

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Image Sources: Microsoft Clip Art, Twitter logo, & @HVSVN Twitter Account