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You know you’re doing social media wrong when…

…you become a trending topic on Twitter. For all the wrong reasons. And you’re not aware of it.

I usually save my social media tips for other sites where I occasional guest post but the smack-down that happened on Twitter throughout the course of the past day was simply baffling to me, as someone with a degree in public relations, that I really had to share.

For those of you who don’t use Twitter or are unaware of what I’m talking about, here’s how things went down:

  • A few Eastlink customers have been facing issues with Twitter connections timing out over the course of the past week.
  • Some customers assume it’s their third party application, others figure it’s Twitter.com (no stranger to hacks and other issues in the past).
  • A critical mass of fed-up customers breaks early yesterday. People start calling in their complaints.
  • Customer service agents are downright rude. They even hung up on one customer.
  • Just doing a quick search on Twitter last night there were over 20 pages of customers and potential customers tweeting about the fiasco.
  • By mid-afternoon, there was no sign of anyone in communications even being aware of the problem.
  • It wasn’t until hours later that the VP of Marketing showed up on the scene. Personally, I have to wonder if it was because he was mentioned in a tweet.

Whether the problem with connectivity is with Eastlink is completely moot by now. I’m not writing this post to rub salt in the wound. The point of this post is to illustrate a case study in what can go wrong. Social media is an increasingly important part of modern human activity. Cut them off at the source and they will turn that tool against your organization.

If you’re a business that cares about your reputation…go manage it. Your customers are going to complain in a variety of places, not just on your site. It’s your job to find out where. And if your communications team doesn’t understand how to set up even a basic Google Alert, maybe you should invest in training or people who know that social media tools aren’t just the realm of Farmville junkies.

And, for goodness sake, update your media contact page so it doesn’t come up as a 404 error!

  • Jeff White
    brightwhite currently on the phone with #Eastlink tech support. her to me “What’s the URL for Twitter?” me: “are you serious?” 19 Apr 2010 from Tweetie
  • April Baird
    aprilmdesigns I don’t have time to call #Eastlink, but I’ll tweet about it. This has been happening to me for almost a week. I thought it was just me. 19 Apr 2010 from web
  • huskermould
    huskermould hello #Eastlink . <—- see the hashtag. it means you’re trending. for the wrong reasons. fix this twitter thing. very annoying. 19 Apr 2010 from web
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