Social Media Responsibility for the Consumer

Katie Avatar

If you’re reading this there’s a good chance you found this post or my blog through social media. I love social media and anyone that follows me knows I’m avid liker and retweeter. Social Media is also part of my job as a rep for other brands as well as my own. Not to be outdone, my husband Joseph took over our JWTWoodworks Instagram account and has now blown me out of the water.

Joseph’s large and very active Instagram following gives him the ability to share messages about events and new work to promote our business very easily to an interested crowd. What he did last week was a little different though, as Joseph took the role of the consumer. After literally hours of frustration he posted a negative review regarding an experience with a product and the company.

Long story short his needs have been attended to in a polite manner, but he was given a little “lecture” by the company’s rep who was made aware of JWTWoodwork’s large Instagram following prior to speaking with Joseph. The rep emphasized that Joseph’s large following came with a big responsibility. The rep said that he wished Joseph had come to him first, which he did, four times in fact. This situation was showing glaringly obvious communication problems within the company, and although they are trying to make right of it, it’s been quite a journey costing a lot of time and money and that is something that is not so easy to replace.

I am proud of Joseph and it appears his followers are happy with his honesty too according to their comments. The company is going above and beyond to try to rectify the situation despite some major slip ups – at first we were getting great service, then not so great service. We were stern, and got what we needed. We then worried that we were too harsh on the company, but after that quip on social media responsibility from the company worrying about us ruining their reputation, we feel that we made the right move in order to protect ourselves and our followers as consumers.

This whole situation has left me asking myself where the boundary lies between being polite and going overboard with social media reviews. We’ve all had negative experiences at one time or another – a loud guest next door in the hotel, a hair in our food, you name it, it happens. We go to the front desk or our waiter to get it attended to. In general, we’re told to shrug off the small stuff, which is what I’ve done for some time on social media when I’ve been unhappy with products or companies, but after this past weekend my alter ego as the blunt yet honest writer has had a few words to share.

My thoughts are that social media should be used by companies to engage and interact with their customers, whether it be on a positive level or handling a negative customer experience. Unfortunately for companies social media can be a very public megaphone to the world, thus giving consumers the ability to cause a massive shift with the tap of that RT button.

I share this on Twitter often, but I truly think that capitalism puts the consumer in power at times. Our dollars and what we spend them on determine everything in the market, yet we are made to feel small and almost powerless by companies and their bad service very easily. I encourage folks to spend their dollars with those who care, those who count, and those who produce quality. Companies won’t continue to make crappy products if no one buys them. Social media is our modern way of saying “Fellow Buyer beware!” and I believe we have a responsibility to tell our friends and neighbors when they REALLY don’t need to spend their money on this product with X company because it is horrible.

I’m really interested to hear what you think. Do you voice complaints to companies over social media? If so, do you see results? If you don’t share them, why not? Is the machine too big? I don’t think so. If companies are worried about their reputation, they should focus more on service, quality products and doing good business so there is no questions about their reputations. No one is perfect, but I think it’s safe to say consumers have reached another level of influence that can and will continue to dramatically change the landscape of business and the control that consumers have over their dollars and the market.

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