Skip links

Businesses Feeling the Burn of Social Media

Customers and sales are a business’s best friends. Sales achieve revenue – great sales achieve profit. So what happens when businesses forget to address their customers as individuals and fail to meet their expectations, needs and wants? Can a business survive without identifying their customer’s problems or will they just lose a competitive edge, if they ever had one? Well, one thing is for sure, businesses are replaceable for customers.

Take supermarkets, if they fail to offer promotions to their customers suitable deals, the customer will go to supermarkets that do. Incentives are also a great way for organisations to offer something extra to customers; we love extras.

Of course, price and promotion are not the only factors involved in keeping the customer onside. Products and brands themselves have an influential part to play in selling. Brand awareness is essential for products as it can create customer loyalty. So treating the customer with the right customer service is paramount. Something we must always remember is that social media provides an instant platform to create brand awareness and response.

Reviews of businesses online

Review sites have been growing over the last few years with customers hitting back by telling the world about their failure to meet their expectations. Here are a few examples of customers feeling failed and using social media to show their annoyance, anger and disapproval.


“Benadryl forgets that people love childish jokes… As part of its content marketing efforts during hay fever season Benadryl created an interactive pollen count map that allowed sufferers to pinpoint pollen hotspots… Alas, it didn’t take long for people to realise that the pins could be used to spell out swear words, or indeed draw rude pictures….”

As you can imagine, some of the public must have enjoyed making ‘naughty’ pictures and having a laugh at Benadryl’s expense. However, some did not, and despite it being a great idea and addressing the needs of their customers, we assume their efforts fell flat as people mocked the idea.

This example illustrates why you may have to well and truly pin point (pun intended) every angle of your PR plan and ensure it will be of value and benefit your customers.

British Airways

“British Airways’ customer service fail… Having a customer moan about your service via social media isn’t exactly a fail in itself, but it is if that customer buys social advertising to promote their complaint and the brand then fails to respond for another eight hours.”

This is exactly the situation that British Airways found itself in when a Twitter user decided that the world needed to know about his lost luggage. Annoyed by BA’s failure to find his father’s lost suitcase, Hassan Syed paid for this Promoted Tweet, which was seen by more than 76,000 users. Despite such being the subject of such a public complaint, BA failed to respond to Syed for eight hours as the message had been posted outside of its customer service hours.”


This example highlights the importance of PR in managing even the smallest crisis in relation to customer complaints. People trust real people’s opinion and there is nothing more influential so beware.

It would seem that social media management is a risky game and should be approached with caution; social media is 24/7 but only the best of us can keep up!

By content contributor – Matthew Clifton

Leave a comment