The future of business communication

I am sure right now at this very moment there is someone writing a horrid review about a company or person on the internet, for how we talk and engage with each other including businesses has changed. I am sure you have probably had a customer write you a comment over social media, whether it be praise or a complaint is this way of communicating with brands in the future?
Social media has connected billions of people from across the globe and given them a voice that can be heard and seen by the entire human race. If this feedback is positive it can be great for business, good positive exposure by word of mouth, or to be more accurate, word of typing. However if this feedback is negative it can be very harmful to your business and your brand’s image.
By the end of 2012 there was more than 200 million active users on Twitter, and to think that 91% of 18-34 year olds using social media are talking about brands, that could be quite a good or quite a scary thought for you.
So thinking about our ‘word of typing’ theory, if one user writes a good or bad comment about you how many people are going to see it? Well, the average twitter user has 126 followers who can see the comment, however if one of those followers re-tweets it, then the comment is then seen by all of their followers and so forth. Mr Barack Obama holds the record for the most re-tweeted tweet, his victory tweet in the US elections was re-tweeted over 800 thousand times, wow. Don’t you just wish that tweet had a good reference to your company in?
And so we move onto the popularity contest. Love her or hate her, Lady Gaga has a lot of followers on twitter, almost 41 million of them. If she made a comment about your business on social media, you would certainly know about it. However it is not just users with loads of followers that can get tweets seen, you may have heard about one man and his fathers lost luggage, who managed to get over 25 thousand impressions on his complaint tweet about British Airways. Hasan Syed’s father had his luggage lost by British Airways and Hasan found their customer service was not up to scratch. So he decided to take matters in his own hands and took to twitter to vent his frustrations, however instead of just writing a tweet to all of his followers he decided to do a paid promotional tweet which would get his tweet in front of thousands of people that he wasn’t connected to, and here is that very tweet….

British Airways tweet

The tweet was picked up by the press and websites giving it even more coverage, something that British Airways really didn’t want. They took to twitter to apologise to Hasan and eventually found and returned his Dad’s luggage.
One of Twitter’s great and early advocates is the gentle giant genius Stephen Fry, who has also taken to Twitter to vent his frustrations. He tweeted about his problems that he was having with British Gas.

Stephen Fry Tweet

In both of these cases we have had a user saying something derogatory about a company, where the company has then responded by apologising and taken a bit of a dent to their brand’s image and their ego. However Tesco mobile have a devised a very different and high risk strategy.

Tesco Mobile tweet

To respond with a line like that is genius, very risky but genius. It gives a human side to the big corporate money making machine that is Tesco, and in my personal opinion uses the social media platform in a way it should be used, with a pinch of salt, a chance to give these big corporate companies a more casual and human feel where they can get across a personality. They also did send the Twitter user a follow up goody bag with a book on the rules of dating and some aftershave…very nice of them!

Tesco Mobile resolved tweet

Tesco are not the only company who are starting to take this sort of approach, Music Magpie have taken a similar stance. They are a company that will buy your old CD’s and game consoles, and when they received a tweet about their TV advert they responded accordingly…

Music Magpie tweet

So why are people taking to social media to contact businesses for support or to complain? Is the way we communicate with our brands changing? Well we all know and have experienced the difficulties that you can encounter when phoning a company, so is it the case people are tired of being put on hold for 2 hours while they listen to incredibly dull music [insert James Blunt or Coldplay here]. People want immediate responses they are paying for a service or a product and they don’t want to or have time to sit down and be put on hold for hours on end. Social Media gives people a chance to be heard quickly and all through the ease of hitting a tiny button that says “post”.
As well as social media I think mobile marketing is a perfect way for giving people a quick, easy and efficient way of communicating with a business or brand. To have a virtual mobile number for your business which customers can text and contact you on is ideal in this fast paced moving world. They can text their complaint, support issues, praise or problems and you can easily respond through your email which is then in turn switched back to a text.
People want to communicate easily, quickly and through text and your business can do this, offering customers support, information, news, offers and deals. You can answer many of your customer needs through a simple, easy and cost effective text. I really think that this would be a win win for both parties, and maybe a sign of what is to come.