Brands: Ignoring Social Media Won’t Make it Go Away

Many big brands continue to ignore their followers.

Last week we attended an internet marketing conference in Las Vegas and stayed at an upscale hotel on the strip. Our stay at the hotel was less than lovely, but what irked me even more than our lousy stay, was the fact that although the hotel has a social media presence, they completely ignore the customers who reach out to them via social media.

Walking through the hip hotel’s lobby and casino, you are confronted with signs and banners advertising that they are on all of the major social networks. There is one large sign outside, near the check in area, which boldly proclaims that they are on Twitter with their @handle printed on it. A sign that is so big, it just about begs for people in the very long check in line to tweet “what gives”?

As our stay at the hotel went on, I tweeted four times on different days to them regarding the service I was experiencing and got no reply. When I looked at their Twitter profile page, I saw that they were tweeting specials, but not once did I see where they had replied to any of the people tweeting to them. It was practically all I could do to keep myself from finding the head of the hotel’s marketing department to beg them to look at the coming PR mess that is heading their way, if they don’t start paying attention to their customers via social media channels.

As a brand, showing off the fact that you have social media accounts and mis-managing them is worse than having no presence at all.

 Social media is far more than just a fun way to micro-blog or promote specials. Social media is marketing, customer service, PR and sales all wrapped into one. Skipping over any of these crucial areas can leave gaping holes for your not-so adoring public to mop the floor with your brand.

Customers who have had a negative experience are more likely to blog/tweet/write about it, than those who had a positive experience. Leaving all of those negative responses floating around online with no reply creates a domino effect. As potential customers find a brand’s negative reviews, they are likely to in some way share what they read with friends, aside from avoiding the brand themselves.

With the evolution of social media, everyone is a critic.

No longer, should brands only reserve their very best for the industry critics. Every customer that walks through your door has the potential to become you next biggest critic. With the evolution of social media, it’s quite easy for average consumers to criticize or compliment a brand far beyond the reach of any professional critic. As consumers look more and more to review sites and their own personal trusted network for reviews, they rely less and less on industry critics.

The fact is that, social media is putting a very broad, bright, spotlight on companies that have lousy customer service and poor quality products. Brands need to step up their game and stop resting on their laurels. Whether or not your brand has a Twitter or Facebook account matters not, if you aren’t monitoring them; your customers are talking about you – regardless. Ignoring your customers via social media is one sure-fire way to show that as a brand – you don’t care.

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