Businesses on Twitter - don't do this


I love social media.  I'm on Google+, Facebook, Twitter, Mobypicture, Reddit, (myspace...), run my own forum, and I've registered for more accounts than I can recall.  I also think that businesses should be active on social media.  It is a great way to hear directly from customers and to communicate with them directly.  Your actions are public so if you make a customer happy, everyone can see it. Social media is a two way street.  If you tweet in a broadcast mode, don't be surprised when a customer or potential customer responds.  Do not be surprised when a customer asks you a question over Twitter.  Interacting with a customer can be a very positive experience but ignoring a customer can have the opposite experience.

In other words, if I ask you a question on Twitter, I EXPECT AN ANSWER.

Yes, this post is a bit of a rant but it is also a warning to businesses who think they need a social media presence but do not maintain it.  You may have setup a Twitter account or a Facebook Page but if you do not monitor it, two things happen.  First, the page stagnates.  If you find a Facebook page that has not been updated in 6 months, what do you think about the business?  Are they still alive?  Do they care?  You may think a lot of things but none of them will be positive.

Second, if a customer posts a question and you do not respond, how do you think the customer feels?  Customers can wait a bit for a response but not days.  By not responding, you are sending the message that you don't care.  "I don't know" is a valid response.  The fact that you responded is what counts.

What prompted this?  I regularly ask small businesses questions online.  Liquor stores, car dealership, and even ice cream shops.  They tweet out from time to time and so it is legitimate for me to expect them to respond.  They accounts are not abandoned - they just appear to be managed by someone who either does not care to respond to paying customers or is not empowered to respond.

So, here is my heterodoxical opinion.  If you have a Twitter account or Facebook Page and don't update it - DELETE IT.  Seriously.  A customer not finding your page is better than one having a bad experience.