There, I said it. Of course, if I didn’t then you would keep doing what you’re doing. The truth is, you’re doing it wrong. For some of you, its worse: you’re not doing it all. If your Social Media manager cannot tell you that, they’re not doing their jobs.

Gone are the days where you could market a product on a particular medium such as radio or television and talk to hundreds of thousands of people. But what happens when they talk back? You should respond. Just because they’re not calling your hotline, doesn’t mean they’re not talking to you.

Just because they’re not calling your hotline, doesn’t mean they’re not talking to you.

Let’s take a look at an example to better illustrate what I want to say. American Express has 5 million Facebook likes. AmEx must be doing something right. But just because you “like” a brand’s page, doesn’t mean you actually “like” the brand all the time. So what’s AmEx doing wrong? Take a look at this (please, click to enlarge):

Screen Shot 2014-01-11 at 4.58.25 PM

AmEx posted (in my opinion) a completely pointless statistic about referring friends to a service. The comment thread that followed was anything but about that statistic. It was full of complaints. Look at Paul’s complaint made on January 4th. It’s been nearly 10 days and AmEx hasn’t responded. A customer called you out in a very public way about the quality of your service and you didn’t respond at all. What was your social media manager doing? Did he convey this complaint to you?

So why fire my social media manager?

Social media is an imperative part of your image, your credibility, and therefore, your PR. And PR is an integral part of management. This means that if PR is not communicating with Customer Service, it’s not doing its job. Your social media manager is supposed to keep you informed about these things. This is your chance to do right by your clients. I don’t need to go in detail to tell you what qualities your social media manager should have.

Perhaps AmEx has a policy of responding to complaints privately. But no one will ever know if you responded, how you responded, and if the problem was solved. That makes you look like you don’t care enough. And you need to care. And you need to show it.

And you need to care. And you need to show it.

Here’s the solution

The dynamics are different. When you get called out in public, respond in public. And then negotiate in private. But make sure your clients know that you’re listening and you’re responding.  Social media managers: it is your job to build a bridge between PR and CS. Executive management: it is your job to listen to your PR team to ensure that you address these issues and make it policy.

But don’t actually fire your social media manager. Train them. Invest in them. That will go much further.

For the sake of keeping this article short, I’ve reduced arguments to a basic level. I invite you to engage with me in the comments section if you would like to dig deeper. Thank you 🙂

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