How to Lose Credibility and Customers on Social Media

Jan 2012

When I first started using Twitter to reach out to companies, I was impressed at how quickly some responded, or that they responded at all.  But then I thought, “It that really surprising?” You’re on social media for a reason: to socialize! If a company is on social media and chooses not to interact with their clients and customers, that’s bad news.

For example, just the other day I tweeted a company about a problem I had with an order.  Birchbox is a company that, for $10 a month, sends you a custom box filled with beauty goodies and samples (it’s my secret way of indulging in products without breaking the bank account each month).  They had skipped over my December order due to shipping problems, and though they kindly reimbursed me, it now looked as though my January box was also nowhere in sight.  Birchbox is highly active on social media, so I figured that I could get a quick answer by tweeting them.  A couple hours passed by and still no reply. I decided to follow their Twitter feed and to my disappointment, found that not only did Birchbox decide to NOT address my tweet, but even worse, continued to enthusiastically reply to other people, while leaving me in the dust.

What gives?  Naturally, if a company puts themselves out there on social media, they are bound to an [unwritten] law of maintaining communication between them and their audiences. No, companies cannot pick and choose whom they want to reply to—everyone counts, and they are somewhat obligated to respond to any matter at hand, no matter how unpleasant the situation or topic is.

I’m disappointed in the way Birchbox handled the situation. I feel as if they don’t value my business very much if they can’t even take the time to write a 140 character message to help remedy a very benign problem (I just wanted a status update on my order!). The disappointment consequently has led me to possibly rescinding my membership and exploring my beauty options elsewhere, like LuxeBox or MyGlam.

So fellow readers, let this be a lesson to you. Remember to not only stay social on your business’s social media, but to treat everyone equally; Positive comments, neutral comments, negative comments—it doesn’t matter! You need to address them all.  And if you don’t, well, don’t blame me if some unhappy clients or customers start airing out complaints about your company on a blog…


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