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A Story Showing The Power Of Blogging And Twitter

Posted by on Sep 21, 2010
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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.


Twitter Unfiltered
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.

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11 Comments »

Patricia:

If anyone doubted the power of Social Media they should be convinced now Mitch. Just goes to show; people power rocks.
Thanks for the heads up with this.
BTW hope your healthy eating going well.
Patricia Perth Australia

Mitch Reply:

Thanks Patricia. I’ve stuck to the plan and part of it’s working, part of it isn’t. But the part that is working I’ll take. :-)

September 21st, 2010 | 10:50 PM
Dennis Edell @ Direct Sales Marketing:

The circle of tech; you can’t do anything without getting caught.

First it was everyone with a video camera, now the speed of twitter.

Mitch Reply:

You’re right Dennis. One of the taglines on my personal email is “Have you noticed how few UFO sightings there are since everyone got video cameras?”

September 22nd, 2010 | 6:31 AM

Mitch I a so glad I decided to subscribe to this email last night otherwise I would have missed this lovely story. Do you know how many Tweets I have read of someone complaining about a company/service that has a Twitter page? Airlines, restaurants, hotels, cable t.v., etc. never did I hear about them going to this extent. I actually have a story myself.
In August my daughter had her 8th grade graduation and I pulled out the digi-camera and some rechargeable Rayovac batteries for the event. These batteries had been charging for at least 6 hours, just for this 3 hour event. The batteries lasted 1 hour before dying out completely. I got on twitter and said something to the effect “Do not buy Rayovac rechargeable batteries, they are a piece of sh!t garbage and died after an hour.” I thought nothing of it but me doing a simple rant and I forgot about it after that. 2 days later I got an comment from a representative from the Head office of Rayovac on my blog. They left me an email offering their apologies, explained to me I should try their Platinum series of rechargeable batteries, and to email them my address and they will gladly replace the batteries. I of course was shocked because I wasn’t even aware Rayovac had a Twitter page and I did not @ reply Rayovac just mentioned them. So I did email them my address along with the batteries size which was AA. I got another email saying I was going to be sent batteries and again they apologize for the product not living up to my expectations.
About 4 days later I got a package from FedEx containing 40 AA, 40 AAA regular disposable batteries, and 4 AA, 4 AAA rechargeable batteries and a wall charger. Of course I got on Twitter and apologized for calling their batteries a piece of sh!t garbage and commended them on superior customer satisfaction experience. They started following me too but then stopped soon after I assume because of the colorful language I used on there. That was a different Twitter then what I use now. But I experienced firsthand the power of Twitter.

Mitch Reply:

Love this story, and it shows that businesses that care will try to reach out to customers who have problems.

Karl Foxley Reply:

That is a great story Karen and certainly shows the right way to respond to customer complaints rather those companies that go on the offensive or those that ignore things hoping that they will just somehow go away.

September 22nd, 2010 | 10:27 AM
Carl:

Wow, this is a bit drastic, but definitely twitter and blogs have a great power. As soon as there are reliable followers, you can make a business very powerful or can ruin it.

Mitch Reply:

That’s for sure, Carl. These days, mess with the wrong person and your business will be in major trouble quickly.

September 22nd, 2010 | 9:45 PM

That is really a great story.It shows that businesses that care will try to reach out to customers who have problems.

Mitch Reply:

I agree with you wholeheartedly here. As a business owner, I’d hope to have an opportunity to fix any issues that came up.

November 19th, 2010 | 10:51 PM