When setting up a social media monitoring or listening programme there are various words and parties to consider watching:
- Mentions of your brand(s) / organisation
- Relevant bloggers / sites / commentators / breaking news
- Mentions of products and social objects connected to your brand(s) / organisation
- Competitors (their sites, blogs, Twitter, pages and mentions of them)
Picking up on the final element, competitor mentions, when Erick Schonfeld was recently mid-rant about his experience with American Airlines on Twitter an alert @VirginAmerica tweeter picked up on his discomfort and seized on the opportunity to encourage him over to fly with them:
Of course, it was not beyond Erick to identify that they this was a cheeky PR play – but it worked – as Erick went on to give Virgin America a prominent plug in his piece:
Too bad they don’t fly to New York from Chicago.
This shows how timing and knowing how to participate can get great results. In this case it was PR – but I’ve seen similar success after setting up a dashboard for a client. It enabled them to post a comment at the right time on a relevant blog post – which was the highest referring traffic driver to their target page that day.
On the other hand, Erick was less impressed by American Airline’s use of social media – specifically that they reached out to him on Twitter and offered help then couldn’t deliver on it:
To me, this really points to where social media marketing fails. It is nothing more than PR unless they can provide actual customer service.
It is actually better to do nothing than to monitor social media, get involved in a conversation and then do nothing for the customer. I had a similar experience with Virgin Media UK when I asked on Twitter if they could add a certain programme to the catch-up selection on their boxes. I got an almost immediate response telling me another Virgin Twitter account would help me with it. I dutifully directed my request at them – but got nothing. Nothing at all. Hmmm.
The moral – don’t just listen, don’t just respond. Deliver.