What do you do if you are a BIG Brand, have heard you need to be in social media, but really don’t want to? Let’s use US Airways as an example…
Today the airline really got my goat (so to speak). This post isn’t about my beef with them as much as it’s about what I see as their obvious slouch away from social media. Since a number of people have asked, I briefly explain personal issue at the very end of the post.
You remember US Air. They had a small boo boo with that plane landing in the Hudson River. What started out bad actually turned out as a pretty good PR event with Captain Sully (he happens to be local and I have met a few times) saving everyone and becoming a national hero! Yay Sully!
An open conversation to US Airways – if you are listening (and you should).
Let’s talk about this thing called Social Media for a minute. I hear you’ve been told you HAVE to be on Twitter. I agree that you should.
“But nobody really get’s twitter. It seems like such a waste. What would we tweet? HEY What if someone complains? Everyone will see it!”
“Here’s an idea, if they want to complain or get our attention, let’s send them to a form on our website! That way the public will never see it! #WINNING!”
And so you did. Both in your bio and your twitter background. But US Air, your background says to fill out the form so you can follow up directly – Here’s a hint: Just follow me back and you can DM me! Lot’s of people do. Your Bio says you aren’t able to provide a proper response on Twitter. Why not? All your competitors can. Lot’s of companies can. Here’s another hint: When they do, they do so publicly so that the world sees they are listening and helping their customers. It’s called Social Proof. It’s a good thing. You might want to try it sometime.
But the thing you’ve got horribly inexcusably wrong, and you might want to listen extra hard because this is the really really important part…
Is that the choice isn’t yours on where or how we reach out to you
Not in the world we live in today. It’s 2012. There’s something called Social Media happening out there and nobody can control or contain it.
The truth is, nobody is going to read your bio or background. Nobody (especially on a cell phone) is going to fill out your form. Instead, they are going to tweet you. No matter what you want, the conversation is happening and it’s happening in a very public place.
US Airways, I’d like to introduce you to your complaint board: It’s called Twitter and you can find it by going here: https://twitter.com/#!/search/%40usairways
I can pretty much guarantee most of these people never saw your twitter bio. Matter of fact, if you view that search in a twitter client you’ll see that ALL of them are from mobile phones.
Guess what? That’s just the list of people that correctly guessed your twitter account (@USAirways). You should really see what’s happening over at @USAir. Yeah. Warning there’s a little snarky happening over there.
But what about Facebook? Now there’s a subtle but effective way of handling it. Just turn on only your posts as the default. Snarky whining complaining people can still complain but few will see them.
Nothing but shiny happy posts here…
Oh, I love Bobby Flay! I can’t wait to see what he’s cooking up in the magazine!
But see that little “Everyone (Most Recent)”? That’s where all us ‘other’ people’s posts go.
Need more? I’ve got a part in a nationally known radio show that airs tomorrow but I guess you probably won’t be hearing that. The thousands of listeners we have (both live and on iTunes) will.
They say, what you don’t know won’t hurt you – right?
What’s my complaint? I had to changed flights back in June. You gave me a $280 credit. I bought a $230 ticket today. You charged me a $150 fee to use my credit? Really? So my credit was only worth $130? My feeble brain would say, 230 ticket less a 130 credit would mean I pay $100.
NOT Exactly. What’s better than screwing a customer? Screwing them even more. Instead, you charge my card the full $150 and gave me a full $280 credit. I buy a $230 ticket for PHX but now still have a $50 credit to use later! What’s that you say? I also have to use that before June of 2012?
Tell you what, keep the $50. I’ll fly with a better airline from now on. Oh, wait, I bet you’ve heard that one before. https://twitter.com/#!/search/%40usair & https://twitter.com/#!/search/%40usairways
My twitter friend Amy Geddes just shared her “JOY, HAPPINESS, FUZZY BUNNIES AND RAINBOWS” about US Air. When informed of the post, US Air actually told her to fax it.
“US Airways is restricted from viewing personal blogs or social websites”
As Vizzini would say… “That’s INCONCEIVABLE!”