I reported months ago that Republican Presidential Candidate Ted Cruz does not own TedCruz.com They’ve had months to buy the name, but they apparently didn’t bother, even at this late date in the campaign. And TedCruz-2016.com is also up for sale. In the meantime, I bought TedCruz.mobi just for a laugh.
David Erickson and I discussed Crocs’ ham-handed David Bowie tribute; David Bowie’s remarkably prescient online innovations and foresight; Periscope live streaming in Tweets; a new kind of new Twitter ads; the short lifespan of a Peachy social network; Nazis for Trump; EA Sports NFL playoff trolling; the Bud Grant meme; newspapers as public benefit corporations; New York Daily News’ middle-finger “Drop Dead Ted” salute to Ted Cruz; how a taco joint mocking burglars went viral; plus great new apps and important stats and lots more.”
Pre-Internet, I ran a business called Rent-A-Kvetch, in which I was a professional complainer who wrote to companies on behalf of customers who couldn’t get help with problems. The company was a hit because then, as now, most customer service sucks.
“Screw You” attitude prevailed
In addition to customers, Rent-a-Kvetch attracted international mediaattention.
Heck, I was even on Oprah: three times. That’s because it was hard for customers to complain in those days. Companies had the upper hand. An awful lot of companies would just ignore complaints – if you could even reach anyone who would listen to you. Well, that’s over!
Fast forward: Customer is Queen
Today, anyone with access to the Internet can use social media to cause an unpresonsive company pain and a direct hit to its bottom line. Examples abound, from United Broke My Guitar, Comcast, to scores of others that have gone viral, inspired “XYZ company sucks” and parody Twitter accounts and videos.
Yes, the customer can be wrong, and many are nasty, but most customers who get to the point of making online complaints have a point. Don’t ever ignore a complaint!
Here’s a little refresher course on what companies need to do:
1- Monitor social media mentions of the brand 24/7
2- Respond within 3 hours to complaints in social media (Internet time is like dog years: one hour is like 7 in Internet time!)
3- APOLOGIZE and say you’ll work to solve the problem. (From the hundreds of customer complaints I handled, I learned that what most people wanted most was an apology.)
4- Respond in a human voice (not corporate speak) in the platform where the complaint was posted. If it’s on Twitter, respond on Twitter; on Facebook, respond there, etc.
5- Do not say “You’re the only person who ever complained about this” because that just pisses off the wronged customer. By the time most people take to social media, the company’s representatives have already treated them poorly.
6- Do not try to take the conversation offline to email (as almost every big company does) because you think that’ll make it less public. It won’t. (Ok, to go to direct messages to get account numbers, phone numbers, other personal info, but then go back to public to resolve.)
An angry consumer will just post your offline responses in social media if they aren’t satisfied.
7- Over-deliver on the solution. Send a coupon, send flowers, but send something that makes the person feel better.
Your goal is to have the complainer say “I just got amazing help and service from XYZ Company”
The bottom line – make sure that someone who has the power to solve the problem is the one who responds, apologizes and then over-delivers on the solution so the customer walks away happy.
Alas and alack, one of the best free Twitter tools is gone! Apple bought social analytics search engine Topsy.com two years ago for $200 million and they shut it down on December 15. Despair not, dear readers, here are some excellent alternatives to Topsy for Twitter.
SocialBearing – is one of the best Topsy replacements I’ve found.It gives 7 days worth of results with options to do user, follower & people searches. It filters for Tweet types (including RTs and replies), sentiment and language and also shows most common and influential Tweeters on the keyword or hashtag.
Twazzup – an effect, free tool for real-time Twitter monitoring. Enter a #hashtag, brand name or keyword and Twazzup provides Tweets by influencers, most active and most recent; keywords and links in Tweets and RTs, top RT photos and links, number of Tweets per Hour, plus links to Google search results. It’s fast, free and in real-time.No sentiment is provided, but I think most of those rankings are pretty useless anyway. For example, what’s the sentiment of “We love you fu*king guys”?
Hashtagify is a free hashtag discovery tool that helps you search Twitter by #hashtag; find hashtags related to it; unearth the influencers who are using those hashtags, and and learn an enormous range of information about the topic. Here’s a screencast from Aloft Group demonstrating the range of Hastagify.me searches.
has been substantially beefed up in the past year, allowing you to tailor search results to specific date ranges, people and more.
With some practice, you also can geo-search, keep tabs on your brand or follow a specific topic. You even can set up email notifications for results or a Google Docs spreadsheet to ongoing results. But you’ve got to know how.
T’is the season of giving, and many of us look for ways to give back to the neediest among us by donating to nonprofits, volunteering to serve holiday dinners or contributing clothing, toys and supplies.
But is giving back through acts of kindness enough? Should our philanthropy be able to fight the causes of inequality? Is it time for a re-imagined gospel of wealth?
Walker’s piece got me thinking about the questions he raised, and about how to give back in a way that really can make a difference not just in the symptoms of a problem, but in their cause.
Gospel of Wealth
Walker notes that formal philanthropy may date from Andrew Carnegie’s 1889 Gospel of Wealth, which stated that the self-made wealthy have an obligation to re-distribute their surplus to the less fortunate.
Over the years, the families of the Gates, Rockefellers, Mellons et al, have given billions to support causes including education, food, medicine, agriculture and more. And yet, Walker says, “society’s challenges may have outpaced philanthropy’s resources.”
Giving back, he says, should fund people, ideas and organizations that can address more than wealth disparity. What we need to think about, he says, is how to address root causes and how to empower the people most affected by inequality: women, children, racial minorities, the poor, religious and ethnic minorities and L.G.B.T. individuals.
Who gets the money now?
Looking at charity from Walker’s new paradigm, organizations that deserve the most support are the ones that give disadvantaged people the tools they need to make changing their lives possible.
Before you give, research beyond the glossy appeals and social media campaigns. Seek organizations whose programs are devoted to eliminating the problems they serve so that your gift will have impact long after the giving season ends.
B.L. Ochman is a uniquely experienced digital pioneer who has been helping blue chip brands incorporate social media into their marketing strategy since 1996. She co-hosts and produces the award-winning Beyond Social Media Show podcast and contributes to AdAge DigitalNext. On Twitter, she’s @whatsnext.
What 25 million people gave to “Most Used Words” Quiz Creator
If you’re one of the more than 25 million people who took the “Most Used Words” quiz on Facebook, here’s what Paul Bischoff of Comparitech says you gave away about yourself and your friends to Vonvon.me, creator of the app:
Name, profile picture, age, sex, birthday, and other public info
Entire friend list
Everything you’ve ever posted on your timeline
All of your photos and photos you’re tagged in
Hometown and current city
Everything you’ve ever liked
Info about the device you’re using including browser and language
Perhaps worst of all, your friends are not notified when you use a Facebook app or quiz and provide access to their information.
Important: Watch my interview with Bischoff to learn the three things you need to change in your privacy settings before you use another Facebook app or take a quiz.
Depending on the requirements of the app or quiz creator, you sometimes can remove all permissions except your public profile and Facebook timeline posts, and still use the app or play the quiz. However, as Bischoff points out, “most people that play probably won’t bother.”
Like so many of the quizes and apps that are shared on Facebook, the “Most Used Words” app is free, quick and kinda fun. The problem: instead of using it within Facebook (who already knows everything about your entire life), you use the quiz and apps on third party sites that collect and can store the information about you and all of your friends on their servers. Those servers could be anywhere in the world, even in countries that have very lax privacy laws.
What do they do with your information? Facebook prohibits them from selling your data, but how is that rule enforced? There’s no way to know.
Changes you need to make
The good news: you can change your privacy settings, and the information you share with apps, and Bischoff tells you how to do that in this interview. Or you can resist the urge to use the next Facebook app or play the next quiz that comes around.