Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Sep 21, 2010
Yesterday turned into a very interesting live lesson in the Syracuse area. In the end, it showed how powerful both Twitter and blogging can be, and how important reputation management is in today’s social media environment.
by Creative Carrot
Here are the quick points of what happened; if you want to see more details on it, here’s the link. Someone went to a local grocery store which is part of a major chain in the area. That person saw something that irritated them enough that they decided to send a quick post on Twitter about it along with a picture of what they were complaining about. A representative from said company decided they didn’t like it, and went to the extreme position of calling the employer to complain about what this person had done, saying that it could affect relations between both companies. Strangely enough, turns out there weren’t any business connections between the two, but can you imagine someone trying to get you fired for complaining about something at their business?
When the person who had complained to begin with found out about it, he contacted a friend of his to ask for advice. Turns out the friend is not only a professor at the local university, but also has a lot of connections. The friend wrote the blog post I’ve linked to above, and then that post showed up on Twitter.
From that point, if you know anything about Twitter you know what happened. Many people retweeted the post and it pretty much went viral. I retweeted the post as well, but I included the company’s Twitter account in mine, trying to make sure the company saw it. Many people went to the blog in support of both the writer and his friend. Oddly enough, there a few people who supported the company, believing that the writer of the blog had jumped the gun without knowing all the facts. Of course he knew all the facts, as any educated person would, and some of us defended what he did as a legitimate thing.
Eventually someone from the company contacted the person who wrote the blog and they started a dialogue. The company then posted something on the blog saying that they had no idea that anyone from the company had done such a thing and that they were going to investigate it. Later it turned out that someone who worked at the company but didn’t have the authority had done this act, which confirmed it had been done, and both the company and the person who did it apologized on the blog. They even wrote me and probably a few other people who had sent them the message to ask us to go back to the blog to see their response. If the company hadn’t been on Twitter, who knows the damage that could have been done to their reputation before they had a chance to address it.
All in all I found it very interesting study, even if it wasn’t supposed to be one, of the power of Twitter in getting a message out, the power of blogging in explaining what the issue is, and then the power of Twitter in addressing something that’s known as “reputation management”. Though this company is a local chain, they’re the number three company in the area, and could ill afford alienating a whole group of people with the knowledge of social media. This campaign even drew the attention of a couple of local media celebrities, although it didn’t end up on TV; I know because I looked for it. It did make the newspaper though.
At a meeting today where I had the opportunity to showcase my business, I mentioned this story without naming the company. A few people gasped when they heard it, and I had some people come up to me after the event who wanted to talk bit more about it. If folks didn’t understand how social media marketing could help them in some fashion, including the concept of blogging, they got it now. Also today, the person who wrote the blog used it in one of his classes as an example of the power and dangers of social media.
The power of blogging and the power of Twitter; it can be an amazing thing.