My Controversial Opinion on The Weather Channel’s Social Media Fail

One of my social media buddies Jessica Wooldridge Tweeted me and a few other gurus our opinion on The Weather Channel’s social media fail moment. I read what happened and found I had way more opinions than could fit in 140 characters. I am writing a blog post giving my opinion as a social media marketer representing multiple companies on how The Weather Channel employee handled the situation. Hopefully my opinion can be a learning opportunity for businesses trying to learn the ways of Twitter.

Fort Worth City Council Member Joel Burns Tweeted a simple complaint to The Weather Channel, asking them to change the photo on the app. When he opened the weather for his city, the app displayed a photo of Dallas instead of Fort Worth. He wanted to see his city, not Dallas.

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The Weather Channel did not respond after his Tweet sent at 7:05 AM. Burns Tweeted again at 7:40, just 35 minutes later, saying:

weather channel twitter

Okay, I get it. The Weather Channel is not perfect. I especially hate the update to their app that happened about a year ago. The interface is sensitive and poorly laid out and it can be a pain to find weather in a different city. However, Burns only waited 35 minutes before deleting the app.

Yes, you need to respond to complaints as a company. Yes, you need to do it in a timely manner. But a timely manner means within a couple hours, not 35 minutes. For all you know, the social media team was in a weekly strategy meeting since it was Monday.

Not only that, but Burns was outright rude about the “poor customer service.” He is the same as a customer in a restaurant who asks the waitress for more napkins on a busy Friday night and then is infuriated when they are not brought back in under five minutes, nixing her tip. His wording and vengeful tone was extremely rude and unprofessional. Which led to a frustrated social media team at The Weather Channel to respond:

weather channel twitter 2

 

Alright. Here we go.

The Weather Channel responded a minute later. This could mean they were on the whole time and ignoring Burns. Or it could mean they just started looking through their Tweets and were responding to things when his Tweet caught their eye and they became frustrated. Regardless, they responded at the wrong time with the wrong thing.

Companies ALWAYS need to be the bigger person when confronted with complaints and unruly customers. The same goes for this interaction between Burns and The Weather Channel. They should have apologized without the sarcastic comment. It was unprofessional and inappropriate.

However, what Burns said was also unprofessional and inappropriate. He WAS bullying. It doesn’t matter that he was bullying a corporation and not a person. It is still bullying. As a political figure, that is terrifying. People quickly rallied behind Burns, scorning The Weather Channel and how horrible they were to BUrns.

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The Weather Channel should not have responded that way. But in this incident, no one is recognizing that Burns was unprofessional, inappropriate, and yes bullying. All things you do NOT want in a city council member. The Weather Channel would have been the winner in this incident if they had responded apologetically and been the bigger person while RT what Burns said. This would highlight how poorly Burns behaved and The Weather Channel would have been a great social media example.

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The person who Tweeted the sarcasm should not be fired. That person should be reprimanded and The Weather Channel should have protocols in place for future incidents. But everyone is ignoring the bad behavior of Burns on Twitter. This is being overshadowed by The Weather Channel’s fail. It needs to be discussed.

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How and When You Should Post on Twitter

I remember when I first signed up for my professional Twitter @HSWriting. I had a very old (and dusty) personal Twitter I tried to use years ago to communicate with my favorite authors and radio stations. I didn’t get much feedback and all of my friends were on Facebook, so I abandoned it. When I signed up my professional Twitter, I knew the rules of how to use it for marketing and all the best things to do. Still, that blank box was glaring at me as I nervously sat down to compose my first Tweet.

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No matter how much you know or don’t know about Twitter, first starting a new account is daunting. One of the most asked questions is, “How much should I Tweet and when should I Tweet to get noticed?” There is a balancing act on Twitter you have to perform between being nonexistent, being annoying with too many updates, and being the model Twitter user. To help you out, I am going to explain when and how you should post on Twitter.

Disclaimer: The “best times” to post on Twitter depend when YOUR audience is online. When you first start out, you can follow my recommendations, but after a couple of months of engagement, you need to get analytics on when your Tweets get the most engagement and optimize your posts for that. Tweriod is a great tool to get a free Twitter analysis. It will tell you the general time frame and exact hours you should be Tweeting.

On Twitter, the most you really should share is 14 times a day on weekdays. On weekends, post no more than seven times a day. Of course, this rule can be broken occasionally, but try to stick to that number as much as possible. Also, never send out an individual Tweet more than once an hour. It is okay to converse with other users more than once an hour, but when sending out individual Tweets, keep it limited.

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The Social Bakers did an analytic study where they took thousands of Tweets from top brands and figured out how many Tweets gave them the most engagement. They noticed after the third Tweet, engagement rapidly declined. However, these big brands also have a lot more followers. Three Tweets is sufficient to get them engagement, but you might need to do a little more to get the attention of followers scrolling through their feed. Once you get going, I recommend about five individual Tweets per day. Still hold conversations and comment on other content, but stick to five individual Tweets a day from your brand.

Here is a good rule of thumb to avoid being annoying – post to be informative rather than to be noticed. I get it, you want people to follow you, comment on, and share your content. We all do! That doesn’t share everything you can find. Only share content if it is informative or helpful to your audience.

6 Ways to Get the Party Started on Twitter

Twitter can seem overwhelming at first, especially since almost everyone on Twitter has hundreds of followers and you have zero to start with. It is easy to get started on Twitter once you understand the basics of how to communicate effectively.

Via Flickr by mkhmarketing

Via Flickr by mkhmarketing

Make a Plan

You need to decide what your goal will be for your Twitter account. Once you have that purpose lined out, you can start to craft your Tweets the right way. Otherwise, you will be sending out random marketing Tweets that people will ignore or Tweets about what you had for lunch. You also need to figure out your target audience and craft your Tweets specifically for them.

Be Human

The first way to be human is to make your profile human. Make your profile picture one of your face, smiling. You should also choose a cover photo either related to your business or something that defines you as a person. Once your profile is human, make sure your Tweets sound human. You only have 140 characters, but make sure every single one matches your personality and the way you speak.

Via Flickr by mkhmarketing

Via Flickr by mkhmarketing

Stay Polite and Informed

Always respond to anyone who Tweets to you and share their content. Also, don’t be afraid to ask Twitter experts questions. Everyone needs advice from their fellow users now and then (even me!). Making continuous rookie mistakes on Twitter irritates some users, so it is better to learn from them. Reading what other people Tweet will help you figure out the language and format you need to use. Lastly, make sure your Tweets are about other people or things. Only 20% of your Tweets should be about yourself.

Follow Worthwhile Users

Don’t follow just anyone! Make sure you want to see the content of every user you follow. Start with influencers in your niche and other people you respect. Also follow people you know in real life. From there, Twitter will recommend other similar users to follow.

Tweet Valuable Content

Make sure every Tweet you send out is valuable. Share articles that provide new information or a twist on your industry. Valuable content also includes conversations with others on Twitter. They will find value in the time you took to respond to them.

Via Flickr by mkhmarketing

Via Flickr by mkhmarketing

Patience is a Virtue

It takes time to grow a following on Twitter and see more interaction and results. Take a deep breath, keep using Twitter correctly, and you will see how influential your Twitter can be.

How to Use Twitter for Customer Service Without Tarnishing Your Brand Reputation

The Twitter platform is a very useful communication tool for your business. Companies use Twitter to get new customers and connect with the old ones. However, not many companies consider the importance of Twitter for customer service. Many people want to communicate on Twitter and sometimes it is to question or complain about your product or service. Some companies ignore customer requests on Twitter to avoid drawing negative attention to their brand. This is the wrong step to take. Instead, here are some ways to manage customer service on Twitter while still making your brand look awesome.

Via Flickr DigitalRalph

Via Flickr DigitalRalph

Respond Quickly

Try to respond within 24 hours. The less time you take to respond, the better. This is the same rule that goes for any customer service interaction, but many companies take days to make contact after an initial communication request from the customer. Your customer have chosen to communicate via Twitter because they thought they would get a faster response on that platform. Show them how attentive you are to their problem by quickly responding.

Via Flickr Warren Sukernek

Via Flickr Warren Sukernek

Use Empathy and Acknowledgement

Don’t be a Twitter robot! Make sure you tell them you are sorry about their problem or understanding their frustration. Acknowledge the problem before trying to solve it for them as well. When you take these steps, you are showing that you care about their customer and their experience with your brand. You are also indicating you did read their entire problem and did your research about how to fix it.

Via Flickr Book Work Laser & Design

Via Flickr Book Work Laser & Design

Don’t Redirect Them

People are choosing to communicate with your company on Twitter because that is their preferred method of communication. Asking them to visit the store, call, email, or get on another social media platform is inconvenient for them. They want their problem solved now and through the initial way of communicating. Answer their question or complaint entirely on Twitter. This can be tricky since you only have 140 characters, but brevity is your friend here.

Via Flickr Trey Pennington

Via Flickr Trey Pennington

Try to Resolve the Issue in One Tweet

I know you think I am crazy. But if your company can solve any issue in under 140 characters, your customers will have an amazing impression of your customer service. When you read about their problem entirely, do your research before responding, and give a perfect solution in few characters, you are taking up very little of your customer’s time and resolving their issue with ease. Evidence of your excellent customer service stays on Twitter as well, showing others how easy it is to communicate with you therefore giving them confidence in your brand.

Why Your Business Should Hold a Twitter Chat

Essentially, Twitter chats are the same as being in a chat room. Users keep track of responses with the specified hash tag and usually anyone can participate. There are also many services available online that allow you to keep track of multiple chats in a streamlined way. There are many benefits of joining or starting a Twitter chat:

Via Flickr cambodia4kidsorg

Via Flickr cambodia4kidsorg

  • The opportunity to network and make connections with people who have an interest in your brand.
    When you hold a chat event, customers get to talk to you and build a deeper bond with your brand. In order to get the most engagement and relationship out of the chat, you need to choose a discussion topic that resonates with your followers. If you make your chats weekly and combine them with how-to webinars, you can increase your lead generation as well. You will get new followers with a Twitter chat, and your brand will reach new people when your responses are retweeted during the chat.
  • Chats position your brand as an expert in the industry.
    Not only is starting a chat a great to build brand authority, but joining chats as a guest is a great way to create a reputation as an expert. You can answer questions related to your industry and establish yourself as an authority. Get to know the host of the chat by Tweeting with them on a regular basis. Whenever you stay in the host’s mind as an authority, it will increase your chance for a guest spot. You can also email the host with your interest. Before participating in the chat, update your Twitter bio to include a link to your website or Facebook.
  • You can create one-on-one relationships.
    Participating in chats frequently will help you build relationships with other people in your industry on Twitter. The more relationships you form, the more recognition your brand will receive in the industry. You will get new followers and create new leads with each participation.
  • Your brand can stay informed on this industry.
    You can also attend Twitter chats as a spectator in order to learn about news and updates in the industry. Find chats with other professionals in the industry in order to discuss common issues.
  • Chats are a method of promotion.
    You can ask hosts if you can sponsor their Twitter chat in order to give your brand more awareness. This means the host will mention your business as the sponsor and you will get mentions in any articles or posts about the chat. Products or services, being the featured guest, and placing advertising banners are also methods of promotion.

What has been your favorite Twitter Chat you have participated in and what made it special? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @HS_Writing!

The Different Ways of Retweeting and What They Mean

Twitter is a versatile website that is a perfect addition to any social media campaign. There are many different aspects of Twitter, making it easy for businesses to use Twitter a little bit wrong. For example, understanding the differences between the ways of Retweeting will help promote a Tweet more effectively.

Retweet

Official Retweet

An official Retweet is a button you can press that is integrated into Twitter. The Tweet will show up on your feed without any alteration to the Tweet on your part. A green border will appear around the top left corner of the Retweet, drawing the attention of people on Twitter who do not follow this person. This is perfect for:

  • Showing the full endorsement of a Tweet
  • Promoting a powerful message that you cannot translate yourself, such as a breaking news story
  • If you want the message to go viral

The official Retweet does not give you any benefits. It is used only to spread news and information without any alteration. Official Retweets are easy to spread with only one click needed. This should be used if you do not need to add content, credit, or edit Tweets. It should not be used for:

  • Connecting with your followers while sharing great content
  • All of the content of the feed. Too many Retweets makes your page look lazy

Traditional RT

Traditional RT

Before the Retweet button, users invented the RT term in order to give credit to someone else’s Tweet that they enjoyed. A sample RT looks like, “Confused about Retweeting? Here is a guide to the different Retweets: link here RT @RetweetExpert.” Even with the Retweet button, people still use RT either before or after the Tweet for certain reasons:

  • RT endorses the person who has supplied the Tweet, but also allows you to interact with them directly with the @username
  • RT is a great way to add a comment to the Tweet before RT-ing it
  • If other people have added RT @username to the front of the Tweet

Twitter is known as a community of people who add on to others ideas, constantly evolving content. RT is a perfect way to do this. Professional Tweeters, such as your business, also use RT to give credit to people. RT’s are not good for:

  • Tweets that have four or five usernames after the RT because it is hard to read
  • When an extra RT is dangerously close or over the 140 character limit

Via

Via @username

Another way to Retweet is to add via @username to the end of a Tweet in parenthesis. It is a lighter version of retweeting, somewhere between a traditional RT and an official Retweet. This is used best when:

  • You want to focus on the content of the Tweet, but still need to give credit to the original Tweeter
  • You are adding thought or a comment to the Tweet but like the look of via @username better than an RT format
  • You are going to change parts of the Tweet entirely since the whole original Tweet is not going to be preserved

The only time you should not do via @username is for the same reasons you should not do an RT @username.

thanks for sharing

Thanks for sharing @username

This version is the best endorsement you can give a fellow Tweeter, but it takes a lot of crafted effort. You are essentially doing a RT, except you are adding a comment at the beginning thanking the Tweeter for the content. An example of this kind of Tweet would be, “Great post! @username The Four Different Kinds of Retweeting link here.” This is used when:

  • The Tweet genuinely entertained you or helped you and you think it can have the same effect on your followers
  • You want a reply from the Tweeter, which can start a Twitter partnership that will increase your social outreach
  • You want to create more traffic or engagement with your followers

This kind of Retweeting is not useful in certain cases:

  • Like with Retweet, you do not want to do it too much or your Twitter feed will seem lazy, even with the extra effort of commenting
  • Each time this Retweet is done, it loses its power, so use it selectively
  • If the original Tweeter is famous or too busy to reply, then do not bother with this kind of Retweet

What is your favorite way of Retweeting? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @HS_Writing!