Why Companies Have to Engage in Social Media, even if they don’t think that it’s a good idea


“What do C.E.O.’s think about Social Sales?  My experience tells me they don’t think about it at all.  When it comes to sales models , they’re comfortable with the status quo and their sales teams are selling like it’s 1999.”

The rise of social media has created a new way for consumers to taunt corporate brands:  complaintvertising.  This is the method of buying prominent advertising space on Twitter or Facebook to air a grievance.  When BA lost his fathers luggage and failed to respond to his complaint on Twitter, He took matters into his own hands.   British airways found out the Hard Way earlier this year when Hasan Syed used Twitters self service ad platform to post a promoted tweet, which read “Don’t fly @ British_ Airways.  Their customer service is horrendous”  Mr Syed spent $1000.00 on his Smear campaign and his angry tweets were seen by more than 50,000 Twitter users in the UK and new York markets where his promoted “tweet” ran

The above speaks to a number of issues.  Had British Airways paid more then lip service to their social media sites and actually `listened`to this customer then this whole exchange could have been avoided.  The customer would not have had to spend his own money to get satisfaction and BA would not have had to be subjected to a mountain of Bad Press

This speaks to the issue of `measuring the impact of social media

Because:     People saying Good Things = good

                       People saying Bad Things   = Bad

Here`s a news flash…Having 50,000 people, a percentage of whom are probably well off financially and opinion leaders in two highly competitive markets become aware that your company gives horrible customer service = Bad

Had BA responded with legal action (i.e suing for Libel) that would have created an absolute Public relations poop storm, Monster Corporation trying to crush an individual (Bad).  So it was a lose – lose situation

I would be interested in hearing if anyone has had experience with complaintvertising




9 thoughts on “Why Companies Have to Engage in Social Media, even if they don’t think that it’s a good idea

  1. I have never had experience with complaintvertising but I have definitely been on the side that wants to do it! Even recently I ordered a Fruit Bouquet delivered to a friend who had just lost a loved one and when my friend sent me a thank you with a text picture of what it looked like I was absolutely appalled as it was not at all what I had expected or asked for. When contacting the company on Facebook they sent me a private message and asked for further information. I have contacted them twice since then with no reply and its been over a month. Do I really want to be the person to complain….no! but please don’t pretend you care and then cut ties. Seriously its all about customer loyalty and appreciation. I will never order from them again and may have to rely to the message on the Facebook wall to get their attention. BOOO!!!!

  2. I get a little sick and tired of people who complain for the sake of complaining and get endless amounts of free stuff as a result! Then there are people like @sarahlamoureux who have legitimate complaints and receive zero compensation or attempt at repair. Should companies address complaints using social media? Absolutely but there doesn’t seem to be any point in posting generic reply after generic reply on the same sites. It doesn’t look good for the company.
    I think the social media world has hit us so quickly and we just aren’t there collectively yet as a society. Some are moving so fast and others are falling behind like you mentioned. I guess we shall wait and see where it all goes next!

  3. Thank you so much for this. I get that people don’t want to complain because who wants to live in a bubble of negativity. But if a person has a legitimate complaint there should be some recourse. I also think however that companies that have a site that has a slew of complaints on their sites should wake up and smell the coffee. Furthermore I would like to know the names of such companies so that I don’t have to waste my time energy or money on them


  4. Well, I think back home in Ottawa we recently had an example of when negative reviews reached a whole new level of customer service (or should I say dropped to a whole new level?). I’m specifically referring to the incident a few years ago when Ms. Simoes, co-owner of the restaurants Kinki and Mambo, flew a bit over the cuckoo’s nest after reading a negative review of one of her restaurants. Rather than deal with the complaint in a professional manner, she created her own slander campaign by not only assuming the customer’s identity but doing her best to destroy her reputation and even went so far as trying to put her job at risk. I’ve also had to deal with ‘online revenge’ after posting a less than complimentary review of an Etsy seller’s products and services. While it was not even close to what this customer went through, it was enough to create a lot of stress and eventually make me decide to stop using my Etsy account. I should be upfront in saying that I used to know Ms. Simoes on a personal and professional level. She was always friendly and professional during our encounters. That being said, I’m glad that justice was finally served with jail time and hope that all business owners learned a lesson from this example. Perhaps I’ll use this story for my first blog post lol…

    • Hi
      Thank you for this. There may have been a certain level of naivety in my blog. Your comment about a person “…flew over the cuckoos nest” brought back home to me about the risks/danger involved in engaging in Social Media

      • I wouldn’t say naive necessarily. It’s a complicated topic and I think it’s going to take some time for protective measures to be put in place (for both consumers and producers). On a bright side of what happened in the example given above, it set a precedence. With the sentencing given out, people should think twice before they start their own online slander or bully campaigns at least at a local level. That’s a good thing. 🙂

  5. I have to say that I don’t complain much – whether online or in person, etc. If I’m taking the time to make a complaint, than there was a real issue and I want the company to hear me. I do read reviews and I look for the follow up comments from the company to see how they handle the issue. This is where companies are falling behind – there are a lot of unanswered complaints out there or the responses are so standardized that they don’t have a genuine empathy to them. Companies need to catch up with the ever changing social media world and get on board to answering the comments – good or bad and showing that they are actually listening and taking something away from the comments. How they respond could be the turning point in a comment going from bad to good or bad to worse.

  6. Thank you for this. I feel that companies exhibit a certain level of arrogance in their interactions with customers. Everything from not having employees available to serve customers, to not wanting to engage in social media


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