To Tweet or Not to Tweet: Social media is a great way to get customer feedback…just be wary for potential blowback

In my last blog post, I challenged you (and myself as well) to be more proactive in approaching customers for feedback. I recently found an excellent example on Twitter of an auto detailing supply company tying in the New Year with an offer to give feedback on things they can do better in the coming year.

Finding the right incentive

Notice they also offer a small incentive for providing feedback. However, it is important to note that the incentive is not a brand new car or a Neil Diamond Cruise Trip. It is just enough to pique the interest of followers, but probably not enough to cloud the feedback with nonsense in an effort for a chance at winning the car wax.

Social media caveat

DetailedImageWhen using social media channels for feedback, please understand the control you have with this medium. Remember that with the advent and popularity of social media channels you can receive a flood of real-time feedback from all over the globe.

But that feedback rolling in can be positive or negative. The negative feedback can now become very visible not only to your past customers but also prospective ones.

Now I say all of this not to dampen your enthusiasm for using emerging social media, but to have you consider what the outcome could be once you hit that update button on Twitter.

So consider questions like these… Did your company have a massive shipping issue this year? Was a bad batch of products sent out? Did you offend Ashton Kutcher in any way?

While the feedback you could gather is still very valuable, you might choose a more controllable channel to gather customer feedback if you have reason to believe some of that feedback may be negative.

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Speaking of feedback, we want to hear from you. What is your favorite source of news and information in the advertising and marketing industry? Not a blog or magazine you just like…but something you really love enough to send a Valentine to on this upcoming (and well-marketed) holiday.

Email or share your feedback using social media and we’ll publish our favorites in a future post right here on the blog.

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10 Comments

  1. Darren | MixTheNet says

    This is especially true if you have a content business, it’s wonderful how your audience can help you come up with ideas or even help you write new useful articles.

  2. Annie Pettit says

    I’d like to challenge people to not be fearful of backlash. If there is backlash, you need to deal with it. Hiding from it or avoiding it doesn’t do you any good. Be out front and take a stand for your brand – that is if it is worth taking a stand for.

  3. Corey Trent says

    Darren: That is a great point and we get testing ideas all the time from the smart posts we see on here from readers.

    Annie: I would agree to a point, however if you had a major blunder the black lash can result in stirring up the pot with many past and potentially new customers. That does not mean that we hide from our mistakes, but in some instances it is worth noting.

    However, if it is small issue then I would agree that it is a great opportunity to admit the mistake and how hard you worked to solve it. This can really show the level of commitment you have to your customers.

  4. Ron says

    Backlash on social media is a very real thing, it doesn’t matter what your brand is if you come across like an idiot – now it IS your brand. Look at this one guy who sent out a bad press release bragging about his Twitter account – 447 Diggs later, he is crowned “the biggest douche in social media”:

    http://digg.com/business_finance/The_Biggest_Douche_In_Social_Media

  5. Carolyn Rhinebarger says

    You all make good points. I would add that there are at least 2 additional circumstances to be aware of:

    1. Social media may not be a good fit if upper management does not support transparency. For example, if marketing is trying to implement a social media inititative in a tightly controlled organization, blow back will only serve to reinforce management’s negative view of social media.

    2. Social media may be a real threat if an organization is in labor disputes or subject to information distribution restrictions, etc. For example, a financial planner may not be able to blog or tweet about stock market trends without getting prior approval which can take days or weeks. A local school board undergoing picketing may find it difficult to overcome a groundswell of negative posts–a real case scenario where I live. (And I know that in this case they could use social media to address the negative but it can be a question of manpower versus the public masses!)

  6. Corey Trent says

    Carolyn,

    Those are some great points to add. Thanks for contributing!

  7. Ant | Web Design Bedfordshire says

    Good article, I think that negative feedback can be a good thing for a few reasons: 1. it gives you the chance to respond to the criticism
    and 2. websites/brands that show just positive feedback feels rather fake as nothing is ever perfect.

    So in a sense having mixed reviews are better as you seem more genuine and can respond to the problems people have had to give your potential customers an answer as to what went wrong.

  8. membership marketing services says

    These are all great points. I’m glad to have came across your site. To make social media account effective, we must know how to accept good and bad criticisms and must know how to respond to it. In this way, we know where we need to improve more and what to change. And even if it is a not-so-good criticism, it still is right to thank them.

    Great comments here! Thanks for sharing!

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