Leaders – Don’t Forget that “Social Media” is SOCIAL

It may seem obvious, but I’ve found that too many leaders and their organizations think that by posting on blogs, Twitter, Facebook, or other sites on a regular basis, they’re engaging in social media. But afterwards, if you’re not responding back to what your followers are saying, you couldn’t be more mistaken. Let me give you a great example of how one company gets it right:  

This morning I flew to Orlando on American Airlines. Once I sat down and pulled out a novel, I realized my reading lamp wasn’t working. Obviously it’s tough to check hundreds of thousands of reading lights across the fleet, so I brought it to their attention. I Tweeted:

“@AmericanAir – check todays Flight 0244 seat 10C. The overhead light doesn’t work. Thanks!”

Literally, within minutes (and before we even took off) American responded with a Twitter post:

“@philcooke – Our apologies, Phil. We’ll report the light issue so that it can be repaired.”

That kind of immediate response tells their customers that American cares enough about customers to monitor their social media traffic and respond, plus – they listened and will fix the problem. That kind of engagement can build a lot of credibility – especially during a crisis.

It’s worth mentioning that when a serious problem happens and people post upsetting or negative remarks on social media, by responding positively, you can often give them a phone number or email address and take the criticism offline to deal with privately.

What about YOUR company or organization? Are you listening to your customers, members, or donors, or are you just using social media as a soapbox to preach or sell?

My daughter Bailey (@bailey_cooke on Twitter) is a musician who also works in social media in New York City. Recently, she showed a local pastor how important responding to his followers could be. Once he started doing it, one church member posted on Facebook that her pastor responded to her question and how great she thought it was and how much she loved the church.

Social media isn’t a one-way street. American Airlines, and now Bailey’s pastor friend both get that. You should too…

Have you had experiences where companies or organizations responded to you about a problem or concern?

This entry was posted on Sunday, March 25th, 2012 at 11:52 am and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

  • Tom Meiner

    Good reminder, and you need to have a plan to accomplish this as well.

    • http://philcooke.com Phil Cooke

      I agree Tom.  Too often organizations are totally deaf to what people are saying about them online…

  • http://nowbizgrowth.com/ Les Dossey

    Very Nice!

  • http://naturalchurch.wordpress.com/ Tobie

    Could not agree more. Thanks.