Move Ahead or Fall Behind. Every Choice Counts.

I recently wrote a blog post about customer service, and how it can make or break a business.

Today, I’m expanding on that theme by talking about the social media platform Twitter. And how it can do the same thing as customer service: make or break your business. Perhaps not in the same dramatic rise/fall as customer service would, but every choice you make on social media can move you ahead, or leave you falling behind. Worse, leave you alienating potential customers.

Why am I ranting about Twitter, you may ask? Well, sit back and grab a cup of coffee. I’ll tell you.

Many people out there don’t understand social media. They don’t know the rules and may not use social media or the Internet that often. I get that. It’s easy to forgive someone who doesn’t use a computer much when they send an email in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS. Why? Because I know they are likely not trying to scream at me (as all caps signify, according to etiquette). Rather, they just may not realize that’s what they are doing. Or they don’t know how to find the caps lock button to unselect it.

But let’s move to the next group of people. The ones who, if they took 3 seconds to THINK about what they represent, what their brand is, they would never respond in the way they do. I had an encounter today with 1 such person. On Twitter.

This was a woman who ran a company for book blog tours. Someone had retweeted her post about how she wanted to help indie authors get the word out about their books. Now, retweeting is a good thing because it allows more people to see the tweet and find out about her business, find out about her book tours that she offers, etc. 

Since I’ve had some not-so-great experiences with book blog tours in the past, I sent her a tweet and asked for an approximate number of people who visited the blogs she used in her blog tours. I wanted to make sure that the “blogs” she used for her tour promos were actually active, since many of the ones I’d been part of in the past had been inactive for years. Blogs with no traffic, no engagement, no visitors, don’t help at all for book blog tours. This is a completely valid question and until today, no one had ever had a problem with me asking it.

Now, this woman had 2 ways she could have responded to me. Unfortunately, she made the wrong choice.

Choice A – Tweet back, thank me for my interest, refer me to her website, tell me to contact her there if I had further questions. Many businesses don’t want to give information in tweet format and they prefer to refer the person to their website. No big deal. This would have been the professional response, and, had I ever needed her promo business in the future, I would have considered her. But she didn’t make Choice A, sadly. She went with Choice B. 

Choice B – She gave me a lecture in numbered points, beginning with “First of all…”

She said I should never have contacted her without following her first. Then she said she doesn’t talk pricing or answer questions about her business on Twitter and I should have known to go to her website. I was a bit stunned about being lectured, but I figured I would go follow her and then follow up on her website. I tried. She had blocked me completely so I can not see her tweets or follow her again.

This is wrong on so many levels. 
  • She blocked a potential customer whose only crime was tweeting a question to her.
  • She had a clear bad/irked attitude in her tweet, which isn’t favorable for her business.
  • She didn’t understand Twitter enough to know that some people do tweet and talk about common interests without following each other first.
  • Her words were condescending, saying things like “First of all, why don’t you follow me before you tweet to me?” and so forth. 

She had the chance to create a future customer, but she failed. With 1 tweet. With 140 characters, she made it abundantly clear she doesn’t value potential customers. And it goes without saying that not only will I never use her business, but I will tell every author friend I know to not use her. 

Think about how you respond, whether in person or on social media. It matters. 

Choose wisely.