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Muzzling The People

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Fine, the title might be a little harsh. But social media has given disgruntled customers courage and megaphone. Word of mouth is the most powerful form of advertising and it works both ways for a company. Praises increase sales, and bad mouthing can shut down business. So it is important, if not crucial for companies to include a strategy to appease customers via a social media platform. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos said, “If you make customers unhappy in the physical world, they might each tell six friends. If you make customers unhappy on the internet, they each tell 6,000 friends.” Here are some cases of which social media had or had not work for businesses.


When Netflix, a movie rental service, decided that customers should sign up for two different accounts if they wanted to watch movies online and rent physical DVDs, a massive uproar by the customers flooded social media websites like Twitter and Facebook. The wildfire of unhappy customers ranting to their friends and their friends’ friends and their friends’ friends’ friends forced Netflix to reconsider their decision on dividing the business and stick to a single user account to watch movies online and rent physical DVDs.


Fast-food giant McDonald’s launched a social media marketing campaign where it encouraged users to tweet happy tales about dining with the company.Unfortunately, the #McDStories tag ended up being used to express many people’s less than positive thoughts about the home of the Big Mac. This made the smiley Ronald McDonald a rather sad clown 😦


For high-end denim retailer MiH social media has helped it launch its online presence. The company’s denim is sold in high-end department stores such as Saks and Harrods, as well as specialist boutiques. The website is its first solo outing. “Since going online we’ve basically doubled our business every season,” says Guusje Wentrup, the company’s e-commerce and marketing coordinator. Social media has proved to be a crucial driver for the brand, adds director of sales Caroline Tighe. “We’ve been active on Twitter and Facebook for about four years, but it was only when the e-commerce site launched that it became so important, because it’s now all about driving traffic to our website. It gave real purpose to it.” The company uses Facebook, Twitter and image-based networks Instagram and Pinterest.


But should a brand-spanking-new start-up worry quite so much about being so focused? “It’s important to find the [social network] that works for your brand,” says My Book Corner’s Emma Perry.

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“They’ve all got their separate identities, audiences and manner of using them. It becomes a matter of exploring each one and analysing which works well for you. Facebook is where the majority of my demographic tends to be.” My Book Corner’s website provides interviews with authors, reviews of children’s books, and lets users post their own reviews and talk about what they’re reading. “I started off slowly just to get an idea of how it worked from a business point of view,” she says. “The first small hurdle is to gain 25 ‘likes’, once you’ve achieved that then the page name is yours. Social media is very immediate. You’ll get an instant response to what you’ve posted, or not, as the case may be!” And there are other advantages. “I used Twitter to connect to some great authors … [and] from a search engine point of view, it also helps with the elusive Google ranking results.”


To end off, here are some tips for social media success by Peter Shankman:

  • Listen to your customers, to your past customers, to your potential customers.
  • Use social, if for nothing else, to fix small problems before they become big problems.
  • Avoid lengthy debates online with your customers. Take it offline.
  • Never respond with your emotions


Written by Jacob

March 30, 2012 at 6:00 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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