For my final blog post for Dr. Daws’ Digital Social Media class, I am looking once again at the issue of:
According to the Financial Times Lexicon, “Social media monitoring is the active monitoring of social media channels for information about a company or organisation.”
Though it intimidated me at first, I quite enjoyed the assignment where we had to experiment with listening in to social media ourselves. The importance of this activity also turned out to be one of the biggest takeaways I got from our Arby’s guest speaker, Josh Martin. He mentioned that at Arby’s “we read every single comment.” With that translating into that company having to commit resources to handle some 1,000 to 5,000 social media mentions every day, this, to me, is a very solid example of a big brand demonstrating that it truly does value customer feedback and — what’s more — acts on it. One example of Arby’s tangible responsiveness is evidenced through their efforts to install baby changing stations in all of their restaurants because of the complaints they had been receiving through social media about this family-friendly restaurant not having facilities to properly accommodate families with babies.
Social Media Missteps
Contrast this level of commitment to stakeholder concerns with the approach of the Trinidad & Tobago Gymnastics Federation (TTGF), the subject of my social media monitoring report. That organization took what was an already-sensitive national issue and made it exponentially worse by their non-responsive social media approach.
Although, admittedly, their Facebook page did not have daily posts prior to the announcement that raised all the furor (the last-minute replacement of the slated 2016 Olympic gymnastics representative), they went completely silent subsequently. In fact, to this day, the TTGF has not posted any status updates on Facebook. In other words, their strategy in dealing with the public’s anger toward them was to ignore the comments that called out what was perceived as an unfair decision mired in disreputable actions. This type of inaction is, in general, a huge no-no in the social media world, as expressed in an article written by Michael Maher on scribenet.com:
In some ways, an inactive account can be worse than not having an account at all. If you have an account, it implies to followers and potential followers that you monitor a social media account and that this may be a way to contact you. Many companies, especially start-ups, are encouraging users to contact them via Twitter with issues, questions, bug reports, and feature requests, which makes inactive accounts look bad by comparison. In short, be active and commit to a social media strategy and schedule.
Added to that, the TTGF was being slandered mercilessly on Twitter — and the TTGF doesn’t even have a presence on that platform. So, they deprived themselves of the chance to be in touch with public sentiment during that crucial time when the eyes of an entire nation were on them. Again, another no-no in the world of social media, which, let’s face it, is a tool so many brands choose to leverage to make great gains — and, often, in the most fun ways.
A Win-Win Case
Case in point, when Morton’s listened in on Twitter, the end result was a win-win for the the listener and the tweeter, social media consultant Peter Shankman — who has more than 150,000 Twitter followers. He essentially tweeted out to Morton’s his desire to be greeted with a porterhouse steak upon landing in Newark. The resulting follow-through from Morton’s meant a free fancy dinner for Shankman, yes, but lots of free publicity for Morton’s! Basically, what Morton’s got out of that gourmet gesture was thousands of dollars worth of advertising for the mere cost of one steak dinner. And, it never would have happened had Morton’s not been listening in.
Yes, indeed, the power of social media is in the listening. Agree?