Protecting Your Brand As Social Media Grows

Where do people go when they want to complain about a company these days? Do they go to their local retail outlet or pick up a phone to let the company know about a problem? Hardly at all now. Instead, complaints are delivered easily and readily through a mobile device and increasingly, social media.


Twitter has been known as the place to complain (and not just about products and services) for quite a number of years now. There are lots of keyboard warriors out there.


Monitoring your brand reputation is not a new thing, even online. I have been involved in monitoring what’s being said on the internet about a company since the early 2000s when BT was launching its ADSL internet. Yes, I am progressing in years.


But in those days, it was more ‘underground’ chat groups and forums where the knowledgeable few hung out. Today, posting and chatting online is a daily occurrence for a large part of society, in fact half of the world’s population uses social media. Being ‘social’ is as easy as carrying a mobile around and having a way of connecting to the internet.


Which is why social media platforms are so popular. The need for likes, affirmations and followers is truly something we have an addiction to. According to Statista, Facebook is still the most used platform, followed by YouTube; WhatsApp; Instagram; Facebook Messenger and then WeChat. But closely behind those is the newer kid on the block, TikTok.


Social media platforms also give instant gratification to reaching out, not only to friends and family, but also companies. But this time it’s not underground amongst a few people. It’s on a global platform with millions of users and usually thousands, or hundreds of thousands, of followers.


According to Genesys, the number of consumers interacting with customer service departments through messaging, mobile apps, chatbots, social media and video calling, more than doubled between 2017 and 2021.


We have seen several high-profile examples of users taking to Twitter to complain about a particular company. One example was a few years ago when a man paid for a promoted tweet to vent his frustration about the way BA handled his father’s missing luggage problem. The tweet was soon picked up by others and even the news site Mashable.


Or there’s the example of a Virgin Media customer who ‘live’ tweeted his experience of trying to speak to the right person on the phone to cancel his subscription. His step-by-step hilarious commentary went viral as people tuned in to see whether he was ever going to get his cancellation.


But what caught my eye last week, was the story reported on BBC News about a consumer taking on Lidl through not Twitter, but TikTok.


A Scottish woman complained to the supermarket about a batch of its oat milk being ‘off’ through a series of videos that attracted millions of views. Her videos eventually led to Lidl removing the batch of milk from on sale in its stores. And got the media coverage to boot, making its visibility even higher.


Whilst companies are busy over in the Twitter corner monitoring brand mentions and negative tweets, who’s over in the other corner watching what’s going on with TikTok?


Surely this high-profile example will lead to others taking to the platform to do the same/similar. Who wants to write a boring tweet that can get lost in the endless scrolling of Twitter, when you can create much more of an impact with a series of videos on TikTok?


Our advice would be to ensure that you are monitoring brand mentions across ALL the platforms, not just the ones that you or your MD use. The right content can generate a lot of publicity on any platform, good and bad.


For help in monitoring and promoting your brand online, please get in touch.