Managing Relationships on Social Media

reputationmanagementReputations can be a hard thing to manage, whether it’s personally or for a brand.

This week, we learned about an incident involving British Airways. When I initially heard about the promoted tweet sent out by @HVSVN about British Airways, I thought, “Wow, this guy is really mad!” Then, I thought what a great way to make yourself heard. I would have never thought of complaining about a business or brand and then paying to promote that tweet so more people would see it. But I guess if I was that mad at a company I would consider it now! This is the risk all brands take when entering the social media world. It’s great to learn about customers and listen to them, but with the good comes the bad.

British Airways did respond to this follower, but not until several hours later. As a brand, it stated that it wasn’t available during the time of his tweet, but would look into it. I think the airline could have handled this better. Besides not manning its social media handles 24/7, it could have initially apologized and tried to sympathize with the customer right off the bat. I would have tweeted something along these lines:

“We are sorry for your unpleasant experience and would like to make it right. Pls send us a DM with more info and we’ll contact you directly.”

Is that groveling? Sort of, but I think in this instance it’s necessary. The follower blasted the brand across an entire social media channel (and across the internet) and British Airways needed everyone else to not only see that they cared, but that they were addressing the issue head-on. It’s a shame this did not happen.

This week, we also learned about the “follow up.” This is something new to me, which I have not considered before. How genius! After this incident happened for British Airways, the brand should have followed up with this customer a week or so later, and in a public way. Maybe this could have included some sort of compensation. I would suggest a free flight or something that the customer would personally enjoy. This would help the brand seem more “human” and go a long way with other customers. They should have tried to make him a “fan” again, and let everyone else know they were doing so. Now, whether that would be realistic or not is unknown, but they could at least try. Sometimes a brand’s biggest “complainer” can become the best ally, especially in a social space.

Has your brand ever “followed up” with a fan a week or later after a complaint? If so, what did the follow-up include and did the fan seem appeased?

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