According to studies published by marketing research groups Maritz and Econsultancy this week, big companies excel at ignoring complaints fired at them over social media. Maritz found that of nearly 1300 consumers who used Twitter to lodge a complaint, 71% never heard back – while over on Facebook, Econsultancy discovered an apparent relationship between the size of a company and its response rate to inquiries.
Surprising? Not terribly – but it does raise an interesting question about corporate social media savvy. It’s not hard to imagine the larger, pre-internet companies being new to social media and regarding it as nothing more than a form of advertising, too unwieldy and too easily bottlenecked to maintain as a line of communication. And it’s equally easy to imagine the opportunities they’re missing for winning over the online crowd (in Maritz’s study, 83.5% of people who had their complaints answered expressed either approval or delight towards the companies replying to them). By basing their social media presence on a massively-followed, anonymously-updated single corporate page that never replies to queries, are companies missing a lot of good PR?
Take the case of travel blogger Ayngelina Brogan (@Ayngelina) of Bacon Is Magic. Facing being stranded in Chile because her flight was cancelled due to volcanic ash, she turned to Twitter to get herself on the next flight out. Tweeting at @AirCanada from her own account elicited no response – so she enlisted the help of her Twitter friends (myself included) and 45 minutes later, Air Canada had received 77 retweets of Ayngelina’s plea. Shortly afterwards, the airline finally replied, telling her she was now booked to fly out the following day. What did she do next? Blogged about it, of course. If Air Canada had been quicker on the ball, they’d have had a glowing writeup in an influential travel blog – an advertisement surely far more effective than the average “sponsored post” (and you’d think they’d be a little quicker to respond after this last year).
Twitter is growing, and with it, the need for large-scale companies to use it effectively. So should they be looking to individuals, the real Twitter experts (the ones who don’t call themselves gurus) for guidance here – and should they be working harder to open a social media dialogue with their customers?
- 18 October, 2011 @ 22:53 [Current Revision] by Mike Sowden
- 18 October, 2011 @ 21:40 by Mike Sowden