Beware of the Robo-Tweet

14 Feb Beware of the Robo-Tweet

Responding to every tweet your company receives is typically a good social media policy…except when the responses are canned, automated tweets, making it clear you have not read the customer’s concerns or thoughts, nor do you care about them.

That is what happened to American Airlines this morning – and Business Insider called them out on it.

It started when @murphmarkd tweeted to American Airlines commenting, “Congrats to @americanair and @usairways on creating the largest, shittiest airline in the world.”

Rather than reading the negative tweet and determining an appropriate response, American Airlines instead tweeted back about an hour later, saying, “Thanks for your support! We look forward to a bright future as the “newAmerican.”

While American Airlines realized their faux pas soon after the fact and deleted the response, the damage had already been done and it appeared to anyone paying attention that they did not have a handle on their social strategy. They were lucky, though often, social media mistakes are not noticed until much later and after a significant amount of public outcry. When Progressive Insurance made a similar blunder a few months back by having the smiling face of spokesperson Flo repeatedly respond to an extremely sensitive issue via Twitter – the company’s reputation suffered immensely.

Automated tweets are not only a bad idea when it comes to disgruntled followers/customers but also when tweets are done in a “set it and forget it” manner. In today’s world of a 24-hour news cycle, companies can receive serious backlash for pushing out tweets that seem insensitive, or worse, oblivious to the world around them.

While automated tweets save time, give you a constant presence and help your company plan a long-term strategy – the downfalls of not being ready to react on the fly seem to far outweigh the convenience. Additionally, taking the time to send out responses specific to your followers won’t go unnoticed by them – particularly if they are having an issue. In fact, in a report by Mediapost, 18% of customers who posted a negative review of a merchant and got  a reply ended up becoming loyal customers. In my opinion, that’s a high enough percentage to make it worth putting a little thought into generating a repsonse.

Have you had any issues with auto-tweets? Do the benefits outweigh the potential risks to keep your company’s social media presence known?

Kathryn Kaplan
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