The I’m Sorry State of Twitter

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We’re big fans of brands using Twitter to communicate with their customers. It’s social media marketing at its finest when a brand actually utilizes the technology in front of it to talk to the people who put food in their mouths. Personally, we’ve had good luck with airing our grievances to airlines, shipping companies and restaurants on Twitter. In most cases, brands address problems quickly and even take time to send follow-up tweets. Basic company Twitter management allows for problems to be addressed in an open and honest manner. Yet we’re starting to wonder if many companies have bitten off more than they can chew by using Twitter as a way to repeatedly say, “I’m sorry” without actually meaning it.

‘Tis the season for blogs that watch brands and see who’s been naughty and who’s been nice to their customers. According to Click Z News, both Target and Gap are leading in the lump of coal department thus far. The two mega-retail superpowers have received a lot of flack for their Twitter feeds, which are clogged with messages of “sorry for the inconvenience” and “we apologize for the frustrations.” Poorly-planned online deals and technical flubs have turned these companies’ Twitter pages into the customer complaint department.

While Twitter is the fastest way to address these issues, we’re hoping the ease of Twitter isn’t in danger of being abused. Mistakes are bound to happen; big companies screw up, and the buying public pretty much expects this going in. But blanket Twitter apologies over and over again aren’t exactly the kind of thing that make customers feel better. The Twitterpology, as we’ve discussed in these pages before, is a double-edged sword. For brands and personalities, Twitter can help put out fires quickly. But fixing a company blunder doesn’t begin and end with the little bird. Customer and media follow-up outside of Twitter still needs to happen. Saving face with a few well-worded tweets isn’t going to cut it with the numerous members of the non-Twitter-using public. Brand loyalty is especially fickle in these post-Yelp times and one phony tweeted apology can spell death for a company.

So, readers, what’s your experience when it comes to communicating with big brands on Twitter and Facebook? Share your successes and horror stories below!

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