The Importance of Accuracy

bulls-eye

I can defiantly see how journalists can feel threatened by social media. When you think about it, anyone can be a journalist these days. Social media allows anyone to break news but is their news factual? Journalists need to employ tools to combat all of the noise on social media and hold the journalism “pledge”: report the facts.

I had never heard of geocodes before this week’s lecture and I have to say, they are so cool! Think of how many more sources journalists could if they used this tool. Better yet, think of how many sources they could check! With limited Twitter users enabling geocodes in their tweets I realize the limitations this tool presents. Hopefully more emphasis is placed on geocodes and it is utilized more in the future!

Another new concept presented in this week’s lecture: reverse search. The giant squid example proves just how important it is to check the validity of imagery on social media. I was unaware this was even possible. During the Boston Marathon bombing I saw so many images with extreme captions on social media. Seeing as this situation was a very extreme one the captions on these images seemed feasible. As more information came out the more I learned some of the images were just not true. When situations like these happen news outlets should take the time to investigate images so false reporting does not occur.

To answer the question posed in the lecture accuracy should be the most important priority for journalists. When news is breaking and journalists want to use social media to report it I think the best practices to still ensure accuracy are to use verified accounts and geocodes. Bottom line: if you can’t confirm a story don’t post about it. As our “Verifying Tweets When News Breaks” article states, it’s more important to get it right than to post it first. Trust is such a hard thing to gain with news viewers, why risk breaking it with a story that can’t be verified?

Sometimes mistakes happen…if a news organization accidently reports something that is not accurate I believe it is extremely important to address it, not delete it. Every once in a while when watching the news I will hear reporters correct themselves if they reported something that later proved to be incorrect. The same should be practiced on social media. Journalists should say sorry, report the correct facts, and post a link with a source verifying this information.

Bottom line: always verify and always be accurate.

Every Social Media Manager’s Worst Nightmare

dflaWe’ve all been to a restaurant before that left us wanting more. The lack of service, atmosphere, or good food can lead to a less than desirable experience. What do you do when this happens to you? Below you will find a hypothetical situation of an individual taking to social media to express their disgust and what I would do to address it.

“I am disgusted about the state of your store on 1467 Justin Kings Way. The counter was smeared in what looked like grease and the tables were full of trash and remains of meals. It makes me wonder what the state of your kitchen is?!!! Gross.”

Ouch…this is a harsh comment. From a business standpoint I would want to take this down, but sometimes leaving these comments up and responding publicly to them can show the audience that you care about each customer. I would comment on this post by saying “Hi there, Thank you for letting us know the conditions of our store. We are very sorry to hear about your experience. Please send us a direct message giving us more details and we will address the issues you have mentioned. Thank you, Alexis.”

Once I have left my comment I know there will be more left on this post. I have seen so many Twitter rants and Facebook comments go off topic and turn into other users fighting. I do not want that to happen on this post. I want it to be an example of what my company is doing to improve our services. I would let the conversation play out but as soon as obscene language or hate speech came into play I would jump back in the post and let user’s know we do not condone this type of behavior. It is one thing for people to say they agree with the disgruntled customer but to throw this type of language into a post services no purpose.

From one extreme to another, I’ve worked in television for about five years. During my reporting days I was taught to always report fair and balanced to avoid situations like this:

“Your reporting on the Middle East is biased in the extreme. You gave almost all your air time to spokespeople for the Israelis last night and there was no right to reply for the Palestinians. The conflict upsets me so much and your reporting of it, saddens me even more and makes me f**king furious.”

Wow, another  social media attack. This one seems a little harder to address considering the racial issues this viewer has. I would first respond to the comment by leaving one saying “Hi, we are sorry to hear you did not like our story last night. Our goal is to provide our viewers with fair and balanced stories. Please contact by direct message so we can work at providing you with a better story next time. Thank you.”

In our lecture it was noted not to respond in anger. As a reporter it would be hard for me not, considering we know the story was unbiased and accurate. I also believe user’s should not respond in anger so once I let the viewer know I saw this comment I would remove it from our page. Using obscene language is unnecessary and unprofessional. I do not want our viewers to be subjected to this.

How would you react to these situations?

Everything in Moderation…

As we enter week six of this semester it was really cool to see how our course topic build on each other. Everything is coming full circle. Ethics can be a complicated area but as long as you have an action plan for a crisis you can swiftly navigate your way through any situation without compromising your values or mission statement.

I loved that Justin pointed out that “our ethics don’t change, decisions might.” Social media can bring about some very interesting situations. Just when you think you’ve encountered or planned for every occurrence a new one can be thrown out you. I think the best way to respond to these situations is through moderation.20-75

I am all for monitoring behavior and taking down offensive posts on social media. I follow a lot of celebrities on Twitter and it’s crazy to me the amount of hate speech that occurs on their accounts. If I were in their shoes I would delete these comments because they cause a hostile environment. People get very passionate and before you know it there’s an all out war via comments when all that was posted as a picture! For bigger brands not addressing this type of hateful material could illustrate that they are condoning this behavior.  I wish more companies would think about the environment they have/create on their social networks and have ways to combat these issues.

Every social network presents different challenges. I am active on both Twitter and Facebook and have seen behavior explicit to these sites. On Twitter people are confined to 140 characters comments are short, rants are more controlled. In my opinion it’s easier to control “the fire” on this network because of the character limitations and the fact that posts don’t appear very long on user’s newsfeeds. Facebook is a different story…one can write a novel on Facebook! Information spreads so fast on this site and lasts for a long time on newsfeeds. Every time someone comments, likes, or shares it appears in the newsfeed. The more attention it has the longer it will be visible.

Considering these circumstances I would say it is the most difficult to moderate hate speech on Facebook. Knowing this should prompt page administrators to monitor their content and comments more. Social media is a very powerful tool in our culture. One bad comment left unattended can cause serious ethical issues.

British Airways Big Mistake…

If there is anything I learned from this week’s lecture it’s that problems don’t go away on social media. You can’t sweep things under the rug because you never know what will go viral. I’m sure the tweet example in our lecture wasn’t the first angry post towards British Airways on Twitter but it only took one person to really get mad to make the airline rethink their whole social strategy.download

As the saying goes “hindsight is 20/20.” I’m sure if British Airways could go back in time they would do everything differently. To answer the questions posed in our lecture, if I was in British Airways shoes I would have addressed this issue as soon as possible. A simple tweet like “We’re sorry to hear about this. Please private message us so we can take care of your problem” could have pacified this angry customer. As many of us outlined in last week’s assignment, numerous companies are practicing this and it’s getting positive attention from consumers.

It all comes back to simple customer service practices. If this man had complained in person I’m sure BA would have gone out of their way to accommodate him. It should be no different on social media. Clearly this gentleman was very upset and BA lost their opportunity to handle the situation appropriately. Complaining to Twitter is no use since this is a public network and anyone can pay to promote a tweet. Groveling at his feet would be no better. In my opinion the only option BA had was to ask the man directly how they could make it up to him (outside of compensation). I know from my personal experience just a simple I’m sorry and how can I make it better really change my attitude.

I really liked the points of saying “thank you” and following up outlined in our lecture. This is a huge miss many companies don’t take advantage of. If I was in BA’s position I would follow up with the disgruntled customer today and say “We are thinking of you and we hope you’ve had a better experience with British Airlines since we last spoke.” Little nuances like this add up.

Bottom line: many companies forget how to practice great customer service on social media since these interactions are not face-to-face. You can’t forget about your customers just because you can’t see them. More companies should remember the basics of customer service and do their very best to make every customer feel heard and valued.

If I Could Turn Back Time…The Importance of Reputation Management on Social Media

Have you ever had a really BAD experience with a company and took to a social network to post your rant? Have you gone as far as Dave Carroll and create a viral YouTube video?

It’s easy to forget the power of social media until instances like this occur. Dave’s video got him more than 200 interviews on talk shows and inspired other customers to create sequels (United Breaks Guitars 2 & 3) that garnered more than a million likes as well. Taylor Guitars also created a YouTube video explaining their repair services in response to Dave’s video. They even gave Dave a new guitar. It seems everyone but United acknowledged Dave…

From a social media perspective if I were an Online Reputation Manager and saw this video I would have gone into immediate damage control. I would have responded to Dave and asked him to write me a message explaining his situation, what damages he is seeking, and thank him for his time and for choosing United. I would have then addressed this with my human resources department and done everything I could to find out where the disconnect was and how the issue escalated to this.

Once I had all of the facts I would release a statement apologizing and explaining what we are doing to make it right for Dave. I would go on a press tour and explain to the media that we understand Dave’s frustration and are doing our best to make sure this instance never happens again. I would also take to social media and express our gratitude for their loyalty and explain how we are ensuring we are making the effort to handle every item in on our airplanes with care. Of course there will be negative comments surrounding our efforts. It is important to not make the same mistake twice and listen and respond to these comments appropriately.

While United Airlines may not have done it right in this situation I am happy that they used Dave’s video as a learning tool. If I were an Online Reputation Manager I would add the following practices to our social media practices:

  • Post our “hours of operation” in our “About Me” sections.
  • Make responding to customer comments within 24 hours a standard.
  • Make our responses personal by saying “thank you” at the beginning of every post and signing each post with out name at the end of each post.
  •  Most importantly if a situation seems very tense to make a supervisor aware. If a situation like Dave’s arises we would discuss on a more micro level and ensure all parties involved are happy with the resolution.
  • Keep “follow up” files for followers we should check in on.

While all of this seems so easy social media is fast and immediate. Most posts don’t show up on other’s social media feeds for very long, but people don’t forget. Taking the time to go the extra mile on social media can save you time, money, and most importantly the trust of your customers.

Publix: Is “Where Shopping is a Pleasure” Prevalent on Facebook?

publixIf you’ve ever been in the southeastern part of the U.S. you’ve probably seen a few Publix grocery stores. Publix was started by George Jenkins in 1930 in Winter Haven, Florida. Jenkins wanted his stores to be revolutionary. He designed stucco floored stores with air conditioning, electronic sliding doors and superior customer service. Jenkins wanted his stores to be “where shopping is a pleasure” and have a family feel. When I walk into the stores I get this feeling, but does this culture translate on Publix’s social media pages?

I follow Publix on Facebook and in my opinion they do an excellent job of expressing their tone on the network, they even say so on the “About” section. The grocery store’s page is filled with recipes, saving opportunities, family-based content (i.e. images), and employee praise. Publix does a great job of responding to comments, both negative and positive as well. While looking at some recent comments I was very impressed to see that most posts were addressed within an hour and employees running the social media page even signed their name in the response. This correlates with the Publix culture. Anytime I’ve ever had a problem, it’s quickly been addressed and always in a friendly and welcoming manner.

Capture2That being said let’s take a look at two examples of how Publix effectively employed their welcoming tone to their Facebook audience. Timothy is pretty upset. He’s been having issues with his local Publix and feels as though his voice isn’t getting heard, so he did what any disgruntled customer does nowadays and took to social media. Even though Timothy’s message got a little heated Publix responded in a calm tone. They apologized, reinforced their mantra (premiere customer service), asked for more details via a private message, and apologized again. They could have ignored this post but instead addressed it within the hour it was posted. They want Publix to be a place “where shopping is a pleasure” and are making it right for Timothy.

CaptureIn this post Publix is reinforcing their belief that they are a family oriented store. Everyone who shops there is special to them. This post received a lot of attention and positive feedback and a Publix employee responded to every single comment, including comments from other Publix employees. Recognizing the people on the frontlines making Publix stores a success reiterates the respect Publix has for ANYONE who walks through their special sliding doors.

Ultimately I believe it is the content Publix posts and the way they respond that make their Facebook page very effective at illustrating their brand. I wish more companies (cough*CitiBike*cough) would take the initiative to connect with their audience, and loyal followers like Publix has on social media.

It’s Social Media Dummy, So Be Social!

This week’s lecture provided some pretty interesting examples of how companies are utilizing social media to connect with the consumers. I really enjoyed learning about how KLM (Royal Dutch Airlines) employs social media. This organization has such a great focus…their customer! They’ve joined social media not to promote their business but to help the customer and promise a response within 24 hours. I think this is amazing! (I actually challenged them and tweeted them…it’s been 45 minutes with no response! They’re cutting it close!)

The Pressure is on KLM!

The Pressure is on KLM!

 

If you read my blog post last week you saw that I have been having some issues with Citibikes…these issues are still ongoing. I still haven’t received my refund and every time I’ve called customer service they provide me with very little information. I’ve tweeted them a handful of times with no response. However when I go on Citibikes Twitter page I see they are active. They are ultimately doing themselves a disservice because I am not going to let this or my money go!

Social media is giving the customer a voice and we deserve to be heard. Brands need to recognize this and implement the practice of listen, respond, listen into their repertoire. After all, “it’s social media dummy, so be social!” I believe if more companies listened to their followers and responded to their posts they would see a dramatic change in the type of activity they see on social media. This is something I try to incorporate into my own practices on social media.

While I currently do not run a company Facebook page I plan to help my dad and his dental practice with his social networks. Putting myself in the patient’s shoes will help me narrow our focus on what kind of content and tone we need to establish on his social sites. Ultimately it needs to be positive, but as we saw with the Virgin Railway example it’s not always rainbows and butterflies. Being able to confront negativity and change a bad experience into a more positive one can change someone’s opinion completely. Social media is enabling us to do this on a more personal level!

From a personal perspective I try and illustrate the same behavior on my social networks. I am trying to promote myself as a brand, a social media expert. I try to engage with my followers by asking them questions, responding to all of their comments, and be human with my content. I think these aspects contribute to the success of brands on social media.

I think this tweet is pretty human. What do you think?

I think this tweet is pretty human. What do you think?

 

What do you do to connect with your followers?