It was only a matter of time. Yesterday, we saw the first promoted tweet used to criticise a company’s service. The inaugural victim? British Airways, for losing Hasan Syed’s dad’s luggage.
A thousand bucks got the frustrated Hasan, @HVSVN, a huge amount of PR, not to mention the satisfaction of giving BA a serious wake-up call. A PR firm would have charged him much much more. (Thanks Hasan for giving us the final tally)
And look at his results, just published:
The promoted tweet said:
'Don't fly @BritishAirways. Their customer service is horrendous.'
What amazed Hasan, the media, not to mention the rest of us, is just how long it took BA to respond to the very prominent complaint:
And when the BA social team finally noticed and responded, their answer was, well, not very we-got-our-finger-on-the-pulse. In fact, this exchange is positively embarrassing.
None of us can be online all the time. We all need to sleep, eat, poo, love, rest and play… actually, I’m sure many stay in touch throughout these activities. Thing is, your network get this; they know if you don’t respond right away, you are busy.
But companies, especially big global corporate brands like BA, do not get this luxury.
Despite many corporations spending only a tiny percentage of their marketing budgets on social media management, they are expected to be online 24/7 to monitor the chatter, the comments, the shares, the retweets, the likes.
And so they should.
Social media is not a one-way street: businesses don’t get to take advantage of all the benefits of social media without having a few responsibilities of their own. The main one is PAY ATTENTION. ALL THE TIME.
Don’t imagine you need a zillion people to do this. There is some fantastically powerful software out there to assist you, like Adobe Social and SalesForce’s Marketing Cloud. These aren’t cheap, but it means that you have a greater handle on who is saying what right now.
Using a promoted tweet to complain was genius. Hat tip to Hasan. Pandora’s Box is now open. Expect to see many people who can afford to do this jump on the bandwagon when they are dissatisfied with company behaviour.
(Thanks to readers Anna, Matt and Graham for alerting me to this story yesterday. Sadly, a heavy workload got in the way. Meh.)