Social marketing 101; respond to your customers about social issues too

Does your organization have a Facebook page where a customer can either “Like” or become “Friends”? Nowadays businesses are either riding the social media train or stranded at the depot. Clients and customers love the personal touch and having the ability to comment on an issue; the problem arises however, when no one from the company responds back or follows up on a complaint, lack of service, or even a social issue.

Statistically the majority of Facebook posts and Tweets remain unanswered. Of course, if the news media grabs onto something particularly egregious, the firestorm rages on, but in general customers just fade away because no one ever responds. As we live in a technologically advancing world where even seven-year-old children carry  smart phones, social consciousness becomes a major factor when building brand loyalty and increasing the number of new customers referred by existing customers.

Recently the Northface clothing company, a high end organization of outerwear was singled out by one of the humane organizations for purchasing and using duck down for their coats and vests that had been purchased from a company who participated in the especially cruel practice of raising ducks for foie gras. If you’re not familiar with the ongoing contentious issue, geese or ducks are fattened artificially by inserting metal tubes down their throats and fed enormous helpings of maize to fatten up their livers. Foie gras is considered a delicacy and commonly sells in excess of $30.00 an ounce. At first Northface ignored the comments on their Facebook page, but as irrefutable evidence of Allied Feather and Down being one of their suppliers who support the foie gras industry, Northface needed to address the issue. Finally on February 20, the organization posted an update stating they did not condone the practice of force-feeding geese, apologized and regretted not having “greater insight into the origins of down” and were working to find long-term solutions to avoid sourcing down. The company now claims to have organized a Down Task Force establishing a traceability system of new procedures.

In another example of a growing social consciousness, Lancome (L’Oreal) still tests finished products on animals; another especially cruel practice when photos of suffering dogs, cats, rabbits and even mice are posted all over Facebook and other related media outlets. It is interesting to note that by 2013 all animal testing for cosmetics will be banned across the European Union. A few weeks ago I posted on the Lancome Facebook page and asked why they were still using live animals. My first post was deleted, but the second time I received a reply denying that animals were still being used, but also directing me to a press release link explaining that the company was working on alternative skin testing methods.

There’s no doubt that companies need to continue working on their social media listening skills because the Internet is not going away. Customer service representatives need to establish reasonable policies aligned with their brand in a social conscious world where information is no farther away than typing in the word “Google”. We live in an ever emerging mindset of sustainable products and new moralities. While we all strive to make a living and produce the best products at the best prices, the world has changed and more customers demand more answers.

6 Responses to “Social marketing 101; respond to your customers about social issues too”

  1. Jared said:

    Apr 05, 12 at 1:45 am

    If you can’t find a solution to their complaint, a competitor sure will haha. Thanks for the post Cheryl!


  2. Joe McFadden said:

    Apr 06, 12 at 12:53 pm

    Just responding to people on social networks can stop a lot of fires before they even start. Social media puts the conversation squarely in the hands of the consumer and ignoring it doesn’t make the buzz go away, especially when dealing with a hot button topic. But even simple customer service help, letting people know you hear them, can make social media a powerful tool for companies.

  3. Clark Macario said:

    Apr 06, 12 at 3:25 pm


    I enjoyed reading the blog post. I have to agree. There’s no doubt that businesses should and need to use social media to connect with the customers. They do reply whenever a customer has a concern. This immediate feedback adds value to the customer service experience and to their overall reputation.

  4. Alex S. said:

    Jul 17, 12 at 6:23 pm

    Social media is huge for companies. A lot of users/customers look for and reach out to companies through social media.

  5. Ronni Yearsley said:

    Nov 21, 12 at 11:08 pm

    We should always focus on social issues so that we can solve them as early as posible. ^

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