5 Fast Ways To Go Wrong on Twitter
It seems so simple. Type 140 characters, post, and your message is in front of a potential audience in the hundreds of millions on Twitter.
Yet many – probably most – credit unions and other financial institutions continue to stumble, fumble and make fools of themselves on Twitter and other social media, many experts say.
Followed by Fakes
The Financial Brand highlighted this misstep in its recent look at credit unions and Twitter when it reported that many institutions have large numbers of followers who are inactive or simply fake, a Twitter condition easily checked with a free utility via @StatusPeople.
When The Financial Brand checked 1st United Services – an $815 million credit union in Pleasanton, Calif. – a stunning 51% of its followers were fakes and 8% were inactive accounts, meaning six in 10 followers were worthless.
So many start, then stop but the inactive Twitter account remains alive and “what does that say about you,” asked social media expert April Rudin.
The Coconut Grove Bank in Florida is a Hall of Famer in this category, posting a single tweet when the account opened in February 2012, then promptly going silent.
Bots – automated computer scripts or “robots” – are exceptionally useful in simplifying high tech drudgery but they also can make a financial institution look downright dumb, a fact recently discovered by giant Bank of America.
Finextra has the story which started when an Occupy Wall Street activist put up a tweet pertaining to a protest and resulting police activity in front of the Bank of America New York headquarters.
Many businesses – and also individual users – use a simple flattery strategy to boost their Twitter follower account. See a tweet, especially one about you, favorite it and, bingo, many users will be so chuffed, they will reciprocate by following you.
So the theory goes.
Twitter is many things – a great place to listen to customers, to find out what’s up with competitors and peers, to chat about current events. And one thing it isn’t is a customer service channel and, said Peter Shankman, an Internet entrepreneur, that is exactly where many businesses go very wrong.
In an email, he wrote, they “NEED TO STOP USING SOCIAL IN REPLACE OF ACTUAL CUSTOMER SERVICE. Responding to a problem on Twitter isn't that great when basic customer service would have prevented the problem in the first place!,”
Australia National Bank’s Internet arm U Bank had a good idea – it started a blog at myfuturebank.org – this was back in 2008 when such things were pioneering – and then it made it awful.
U Bank employees, pretending to be regular customers, stuffed the comments with glowing praise.