Being a digital communications professional, I get very excited to see brands I like or use establishing a presence on social media.
Unfortunately, not every brand knows how to use social media appropriately. Neither do they realise the damage they can do by misusing it.
Here is a story that’s more a personal experience than a case study.
Blue Frog is on social media. They have a Facebook Group(many in fact, to keep up with their numerous members) and a Twitter account. A quick visit to their social media pages will show you that they use social media to:
- Announce schedules and upcoming gigs
- Give out further information on said gigs
- Share good music
- Drive people to Blue Frog with incentives and contests
- Respond to conversations
Keep in mind that last one. ‘Respond to conversations’.
Now for the story.
The wife, a friend and I heard that Indian Ocean were playing at Blue Frog. Being longtime fans, we decided to go. It was too late to book a table, so we figured we’d just go hang with other general janata.
The line stretched really far back. Then we overheard someone asking a bouncer, “How many people are in already?”
“400,” replied the bouncer.
“And how many do you plan to let in?”
We shook our heads, dug fingers in our ears to make sure we’d heard right. 700 people packed into that (relatively) tiny space?
When we entered, there was no room to move. We dug out a space at the bar and hung on for dear life. The concert began. People kept entering, squeezing past us in tight confines, smelling of sweat and booze and stale cigarettes. Others went out for a smoke, and came back in, pushing and shoving on each leg of the journey.
It was so bad, we could hardly focus on the awesome music Indian Ocean was playing. It was like listening to a CD in a car.
Irritated, I tweeted.
I waited for a response. After all, @thebluefrog had tweeted something just nine minutes earlier. Surely they could not ignore this message.
A girl standing beside us began to feel claustrophobic, and sat down on the floor, leaning against the bar. A spontaneous group formed around us, with the guys trying to cordon off some space using our bodies to block the relentless crowd.
And still the gates remained open.
Now I was bloody upset. Blue Frog isn’t cheap. The ticket cost Rs. 300, and the first round of drinks (a beer and a martini) set us back Rs. 1400. And it just wasn’t feeling like an experience worth paying for.
The band announced that they’d be back on Sunday for all the fans who couldn’t get in. Blue Frog tweeted about the repeat gig. Apologised for the long lines. Apologised to individual tweeple who tweeted about not getting in.
And somehow missed out on apologising to me.
An hour-and-a-half into the concert, we decided that it wasn’t worth it. We left. Before the band had played Kandisa, their signature song. And before we left, I lashed out on Twitter for the last time.
Needless to say, we didn’t.
How did Blue Frog goof? You might say that they did apologise, they did plan a repeat gig.
But I say that they focused (and continue to focus) on reaching out to prospective consumers, enticing them, wooing them. And completely ignored those of us who had already bought the product and weren’t happy with it.
@thebluefrog continue to sell on Twitter, announcing gigs, responding to praise. “All is well,” to use a much-abused line.
But unless they begin to respond to all conversations rather than just the happy ones, they’re gonna have a social media fire on their hands…sooner rather than later.
7 thoughts on “Frog Blues (Or, How To Screw Up On Social Media)”
I have experienced the very same with both @BTCare and @Sekonda. It would appear that response to positive sentiment is excellent – and their response creates the viral good feeling Social Media allows. However, I cannot understand why companies do not put the same (if not more) effort into handling negative sentiment.I cannot re-iterate to clients and followers world wide that as much as we are always 'chasing' new business, new customers, new followers – the biggest challenge to them all will be KEEPING them, and the engagement with fans and followers regarding moans, goans and issues needs to be addressed now!! Too much of the 'same old' with customer care – this is the Social Web where issues can go viral and very quickly too.Are you 'listening' TheBlueFrog, BT, Sekonda??? you are not listening everywhere, are you?
Hi Lesley,Thanks for reading and commenting.From your comments, it seems like there are quite a few clients making the same mistake. It's rather sad, given the wealth of information on how to handle social media today.Fortunately for us, there are area a few gems in the client roster. Hindustan Unilever, one of our clients, believes in tackling negative brand conversation head-on. And not just replying to it, but addressing the problem behind it. We really should treasure such brands.Do keep reading the blog, commenting and sharing (thanks for the RT). It's always nice to hear from fellow professionals.Cheers,Samit
Hi Samit. In my view, this may apply to any brand that advertises one thing, but in actuality, does not follow it up. Regardless of the advertising platform.A leading bank has the tagline that translates to, "we care for you", and its TV ad shows a smiling customer service representative answering all queries of a typical middle-class customer.In reality, visiting any of the bank's branches does not elicit the friendly customer service shown in the TV ad. Besides, sometimes the reps are almost to the point of being rude.So any advert (be it TV, print or nowadays social media) must be backed by action. The brands must walk the talk, and really push when it comes to shove.Thanks.
@Abhid: I agree with you that every advert must be backed by action. The point I was trying to make is this:When a brand screws up, how do people let others know about it?In the old days, you had to have a contact in the media to do so, to get an article published. 'Letters to the Editor' is a largely impotent tool – who reads it, really?Now with social media, everyone's a publisher. Everything you write gets indexed by Google and Bing. A search for the offending brand will likely throw up your post. Put the post on Twitter, and it'll be tweeted and retweeted by people you don't know. Put it on Facebook and it'll be commented upon. All of this adds up – and sometimes, gets media to notice, and write about it. The result? A firestorm.That's the power of social media. And that's why brands need to be ultra careful of how they interact with their audience here.Thanks for reading. Do subscribe or follow the blog for regular updates.
I get your point about the granularity of social media on the net. Info is stored on blogs and facebook, and so it can be accessed any time any where, unlike broadcast media, which is periodic. Since we too can add comments to the negative review of a product, a brand has to take notice.In fact this happened on Rashmi Bansal's blog, which complained about poor customer service at one of ICICI bank's branches vis-a-vis the smiling customer rep TV advert. Her comments section was inundated with people — and ICICI bank's PR department too had to comment and assure her (and other commenters) that they'll look into it, and it will be avoided in the future.I have added your blog on my follow list now. It makes for good reads.
I write a decent number of restaurant / pub reviews and have never once used Twitter to connect with the host. Too bad, the Aquamarine Aphibian chose to ignore the feedback. :DExcellent post! Cheers!
@Dhruv: Hey Dhruv…thanks for taking the time to read and comment. It's great to know that my blog has even reached the foodie community 🙂 I'd love to know how restaurants would react to your Tweets. Maybe you should try. Maybe don't tell 'em that you're a reviewer initially. And reveal that later so you can tell if they act different. Your experience would make an amazing follow-up post.Do keep reading – subscribe to the feed, or keep an eye out on my Twitter feed for the latest posts.Cheers,Samit