How I Want To Be Treated By Brands On Social Media

During my honeymoon in Malaysia I was reminded of the way I wanted businesses to act on social media. Brands should be reaching out to consumers to try to keep or steal their loyalty.

While walking the streets in Penang, My wife and I had to constantly reject offers for taxi and rickshaw rides. This sounds annoying and any model replicating it would be spammy, but not if applied responsibly to social media.

Firstly, when I say social media I’m referring to Facebook and Twitter. What I’m talking about mainly applies to Twitter, because it’s mainly public and the tools exist to easily monitor activity in real-time. Secondly, in my example of Penang, each new street and street corner is a new marketplace with no record of previous offers or my response. Social media is a persistent and single marketplace. Brands can see what their competitors have offers and how I’ve responded.

Lastly, and most importantly, the taxi drivers had seen a problem and were offering a solution. Us being hot and sweaty was the problem and the ride was the solution. This is the fleshy part of my point. People publicly post their problems and brands have the opportunity to address them directly.

Australia has a few mobile service providers, each with varying degrees of customer support and mobile service. The main providers are active on Twitter. I’ve seen countless tweets complaining about one thing or another. These tweets get apologies and promises. What I want to see more of is the competition responding and trying to steal business for themselves. National Australia Bank did this aimed at complaints about home loans with good success, but it was ad hoc and not a dedicated part of social operations.

Here’s how I’d do it if I was setting this up:

  • Aim to keep customers and steal new ones from competitors.
  • Respond quickly to create a happy surprise. Quickly really means immediately, which may mean setting up automated responses.
  • Initial response to non-customers should let them know “we’re here and we care.”
  • Initial response to customers has to address the problem with how and when it’ll be solved. This can be achieved by having the appropriate employee calling the customer.
  • If automation is used then phrases needed to be targeted instead of keyword to avoid awkward responses. It’d better to miss opportunities than look stupid. All follow ups have to be personal.
  • If competitors aren’t active then there’s free reign to poach their customers.
  • If competitors are active then be aggressive. Remember it’s a crowded market. Get that business.