Monday, March 28, 2016

Everyone's a Critic

From personal experience, after I have a positive or negative interaction with a company the first place I go to is twitter. The power has switched from the organization to the consumer through social media usage and suddenly, I’m in control. The thought is empowering. When I shred a company on social media as a result of a horrifying customer service experience I feel like Donal Trump.

My problems are not always resolved from these social media rants nor do I receive the interaction I was hoping for, but what does make me feel accomplished is informing my friends and family of my experiences but most importantly getting it off my chest. 

Yes, I am a millennial and was raised in a time where everything and everyone is accessible by lifting a finger. I am able to create and publish content online via social media and if I am capable of it, so could a caveman. Today, everyone and their brother has at least one social media account. Opinions that were once shared between one-on-one interactions can be read, shared, retweeted, favorited, liked, etc are now accessible to billions of people. Thanks, internet.

The source becomes of utmost importance in earned media because there is now a sense of authenticity when information is coming from real-life individuals like you and me rather than a trained advertising advisor for a company trying to sell and persuade you. I am more likely to be persuaded in my opinions from my best friend who received the most pitifully sad burrito from Chipotle and then tweeted a picture of it than the perfectly photoshopped image that the company has posted to their social media account. 

One example of social media users creating positive PR for an organization is a woman named Christina McMenemy who was a guest at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee for a conference. She shared the following tweet on social media and was informed that the model was exclusive to the hotel and was unavailable for purchase. 

Defeated, Christina attended the conference thinking of nothing but the calming sounds from the clock radio wishing she could sleep as well as she did at the hotel. Having given up hope, she returned to her room where she found a present with a handwritten card. There on her freshly made bed was the clock radio that she had fallen in love with. This loyal customer was so thrilled that she shared this photo on social media. The smile on her face says it all. 

The hotel received serious media coverage from this post, including mentions in big time blogs such as this one;) 

Social media is not always rainbows and butterflies for businesses though. One Directions former guitar player, Dan Richards recently shared a sarcastic tweet about losing all his accumulated British Airways miles. 

His followers, many of them members of the 1D fandom (such as myself), responded to the tweet in hopes of the airway seeing his tweet. Two days later, Dan was all smiles because British Airways had returned the miles back to his account so he tweeted a thank you. 

Had they not resolved his conflict, his tweet could have influenced others to have negative associations with their brand. Without proper “medical” attention, these unpleasant posts could create long-lasting damaging effects to your company or brand. This is why it is important to take advantage of this revolution and utilize the power shift before it breaks them.

Anyone is capable of making a social media account, but the content on these accounts can have serious affects on an organization. The power is now ours as consumers, so next time you are unsatisfied with the dismal amount of rice in your Chipotle, forget the hassle of searching for their customer service phone number or email address, go straight to the source of power; social media.

The power is yours,

Mallory West
Twitter Savvy User & 
Burrito Bowl Enthusiast 

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