Vlogger does a poo, tweets for toilet paper

A #TweetFromTheSeat is nothing new, but this one caused a bit of a stir.  (Not literally. That's gross.)

When VLogger Adam Greenwood answered a call of nature on a ride with Virgin Trains, he encountered a nightmare we all hope to avoid: No toilet paper. Stuck for ideas, he tweeted the train company who, miraculously, were able to send some some from the train crew with supplies.

So? You might be thinking, Why should I care?

This post seems like a nothing more than a fun conversation that helped a guy out. And it is. But it led to:

  • a very satisfied customer,
  • highlighted how quickly their Social team responds to tweets, and 
  • generated a lot of positive exposure for the brand.

That's not bad for a total of two tweets each.

Let's break each of those points down:

A very satisfied customer - This should be obvious, and hopefully the response from Virgin would have been the same if her weren't a key influencer on Twitter (more on which later). Socials offer a great way for a brand to offer a secondary and very personal level of satisfaction (after the good or services they provide, obviously) to customers who bother to engage.

Quick response from the Social team - the timestamps on the tweets say that there was only a 2-minute delay between Adam's original tweet and a response from Virgin. That's impressively fast. Virgin's responses tend to be within half an hour of receiving a tweet, but still. Explanations? Ok then.

  1. Just efficient Socialing - The team was entirely up to date on responding to queries and so could address the issue immediately.
  2. Flagging: Their social listening software saw this individual as a key influencer due to his klout score, or follower count or something and flagged it for immediate attention when it arrived.
  3. It was all staged, and was just for Virgin Trains to seem cool and ultra-responsive. (So cynical!)

If it were 3, he'd have made a video about it. He's a vlogger, after all. I want it to be 1 and that the response would have been exactly the same if he weren't an Influencer, but I think there might be an element of 2 in there, too. 

Generated positive exposure - It would have been easy for Virgin Trains to ignore this tweet. To have consigned it to the same trashpile that all of the 'OMG,@VirginTrains ARE SHIT. I'D RATHER WALK' messages land on would have been slightly quicker, and justifiable in that it's not a request for information about a Virgin Trains service, or a dispute needing resolution, which are the primary functions of their Twitter stream. There would have been no negative consequences to that course of action. Yet they didn't, and by doing something in response to the tweet, garnered a huge amount of positive exposure. And that, I think, is the moral here: 

Social offers brands the opportunity to go above and beyond for their customers. You don't have to, and often it's impractical, or absurd, or dangerous. But when they do, it tends to turn out pretty well.

Donald Trump gets Twitter-Pranked

He (or, more likely, some PR intern) RT’d this to his 2.7 Million-strong twitter following:

And yup, the internet went crazy over it. 

Just goes to show, always do a quick reverse image search before RTing something.

.In fact, always do your homework before sharing anything. In most instances it takes less than a minute and can save you some serious egg-on-face time.

Still not as embarrassing as his ‘hair’, however.

(originally posted 29th September 2014)

How To End Your Social Media Career

Or, possibly, “Why you should always check that the link you’re about to paste is still the one you think it is".

Boom. Yup, there goes your job. Quick, find someone else to blame. Failing that, get your coat and head for the door. A lot of commentators were surprised how long this post stayed online for after it was posted. Having worked in Social Customer Services, my guess would be this:

Their CS operative comes online and starts responding to tweets received since the end of the previous day. If there’s a catch-all Query form, he’d keep the link to this on his clipboard, and paste into each response tweet as needed (“Sorry to hear that, please contact <LINK>“; “Hi there! Thanks for letting us know! Please contact Customer Services here <LINK>“, etc.).

At some point during the day, the offending image will have been tweeted/posted/emailed to the company, our operative has seen it, copied the URL to clipboard and written an email to colleagues/friends/his dad saying something along the lines of ‘LOL, look what just arrived!’ and then gone back to responding to incoming tweets, forgetting to first replace the offending image URL with the correct CS form link.

Then, once that image was sent out in error, he’s gone on answering the backlog of tweets (or spreadsheets, browsing imgur, whatever) as no-one really checks the tweets once they’re sent out; we’re all far too busy.) Someone sees the mistake and, even if they tweeted immediately alerting CS to the offending image, it’s going to take a while for the operative to work through the backlog and get up to date. At which point, it’s time to shovel as many office supplies into his pockets as possible and head for the door.

The lesson? Proofreading doesn’t just mean checking for typos. If you’re including a link, make sure it goes where you want it to. Assumptions on this score can cost you your job. And imagine being asked ‘So, why did you leave your last job?’

(Originally posted on April 18, 2014)

Think Before Hitting 'Post'

One of the best things you can possibly do before hitting send on any post, tweet, update or comment is pause for a moment, and think about how your post might be received, and the responses you’re likely to get.

In a lot of ways, this is a rule that applies every single time you open your mouth, also. But if you’ve not worked that out yet, then you’re probably beyond my help.

The key here is to anticipate any negative reaction  and edit your post to mitigate it as much as possible.

In the example above, multi-millionaire superfamous footballer Rio Ferdinand could probably have phrased this a little less ‘poor me’ as he sits in his hotel suite paid for by his employer and contemplates an early night in the king-size bed. He did a good job of clearing it up in his responses, 

“Next time I’ll just put #joking on the end of a “joke” tweet for all the fooooooools! Don’t make me switch on u….I’m here all night mugs!” 

But as with most things like this, it smacks of panic and is rarely reported by any of the sites so keen to point out the original inflammatory post.

Another route, of course, is to plan your response to their response, a bit like planning a few moves ahead in chess:

Go Ex-MySpace Tom.

(Originally posted January 15th 2014)