AT&T’s Social Media Fail

I have an aunt who likes to say “sh*t or get off of the pot.” I’ve heard her say it at least a thousand times. I had an interesting dealing with AT&T the other day that reminded me of this sentiment. Considering the size and scope of their organization, their social media efforts are lame. Either your company is committed to helping its’ customers via social media or it isn’t.

Take twitter, for example. Twitter is not like email. It is a series of conversations that happen in real time. So when I say,

I expect that there will be some sort of response from AT&T, relatively soon. Like a few minutes kind of soon.

But 45 minutes later (how long it took to get a response) I’ve already given up on you helping me via twitter and have finally talked to a “customer service” person who helped us resolve the issue. Additionally, since we had all of that time on our hands, we called your competitor (who assures us that there won’t be service interruptions like we’re experiencing with AT&T).

One of the responses I got was really frustrating:

It was from the username @ATTTeamSusan but “signed” from AnthonyG, who then gave me his schedule for when he worked. Like I care? I’m sure Anthony G is a totally awesome guy. But we’re not going to have any kind of relationship beyond the possibility that he might  resolve my issue. It’s also sort of distracting to be looking at the image of ATTTeamSusan, knowing that it’s really someone called Anthony. I mean, where the hell is Susan?! Why don’t I know her schedule, too?? Is Susan better than Anthony??? Did she get canned for something and they are still using her name and image???

So…AT&T, I think that you need to decide if you’re going to commit to the social media space or not. You have a real opportunity here to shrink some expenses in your call centers while endearing yourselves to your customers. Your social media team can telecommute. They can also handle multiple events at the same time. You will save money in your call centers while maybe making some of your employees happy because they can work from home.

Happy employees. Satisfied customers. Save money. All good things.



The Importance of Being Understood

I’m a fairly average person. I work, I play…I am a mom. I am a wife. I am CEO of an online marketing agency in Atlanta. I advocate for victims of CSEC (the commercial sexual exploitation of children). I have a lot of lovely friends and do fun stuff with them whenever possible.

So I’m busy and I value my time. Just like everybody else, I would imagine. I’m not complaining…in fact I wouldn’t have it any other way. But today I got a phone call that really got under my skin. The gentleman was very difficult to understand but it basically went down like this:

Heavily Accented Guy: Hello. May I please to tell you that this is NOT a sales call. I would only like to know if Mr. Bex Mit…Mit…Mitch…Michelle, still the CEO of your company, Social Butterfly? I would like to extend an invitation to him to join our conference.

Me: (Thinking, “Ok, Archie Bunker…not all CEO’s are men. But nice try.) But I said, “Thank you for calling, but we’re not interested.”

HAG: You don’t understand! This is not a sales call!! Is Mr. Bex Michelle still CEO of your company or not?!

Me: **click**

Ten seconds later, my phone rings again. REALLY. He called back! Thanks Skype, for making it so easy for people to make cheap international calls.

HAG: DO NOT DISCONNECT THIS CALL AGAIN. It is not a sales call! (cue his haughty voice) You need to understand that I am only verifying that Mr. Bex Michelle is still the CEO of Social Butterfly so that we can extend him an invitation to our conference.

Me: (…pausing to allow my tongue and brain to catch up with each other so that I don’t go unnecessarily off the deep end with this tool.) YOU need to understand that Bex MITCHELL is not a man. She’s a woman. And you are speaking to her. And it is simply not possible, based on the quality of this call, that you are going to invite me to anything I would be willing to attend.

I hung up my iPhone, wishing that I had been on a land line instead so that I could have hung up more loudly than just silently pushing a button on my screen.  I was angry, for a few reasons.

Let’s take the gender thing out of it. Yes, I think that he assumed that because I’m a CEO I’m a man. And he was probably rude to me because he thought I was “just” an assistant and/or secretary who didn’t matter (wrong again…had he spoken to anyone on my team like that he would have gotten the same or worse reaction from me).

This guy sounded an awful lot like someone who lives in India. I have no problem with people from or in India. In fact, I have friends I adore from there. But if you are going to market to me, shouldn’t I be able to understand more than 60% of what you say??

My company offers online marketing to other firms. So I get the whole outsourcing thing. We offer SEO and social media solutions for companies big and small. We also create websites that our search engine optimized. We are, for many of our clients, an outsourcing option for them. But we match our resources carefully with our clients demographic. And the most primitive consideration there is language. So we do not “offshore” these jobs to India (or any other place). We homeshore them by working with people who have matched interests and background with our clients demographic. Also, I’m an American and I work for American companies. So…I like to hire other Americans to help us out.

I think that the call I had today is a great reminder of why it’s important to remember that the people who engage your fans and followers in social media, just like the people who make cold calls on behalf of you company, are the face of your company to all who encounters them. The first message your clients, fans and prospects receive shouldn’t be “we don’t really understand each other.”

SoCon12, coming up!!

Have you ever attended one of the SoCon events? The next one is coming up on February 3rd and 4th. From a networking party at SweetWater Brewing Company to an all day conference at KSU, there is something for everyone! I find that it’s a great way to stay on top of the constantly changing landscape of social media. It’s also great for networking.

Check out the break out sessions. How will I ever choose???

10:30 – 11:30am Break out session #1
• Always On: Will Traditional Computers Survive the Mobile Revolution
• Augmented Reality
• Lessons in Video PR
• Socializing Local Store Marketing (LSM)
• The Future is Now: Social TV and What Consumers Want
• The Great Unfollow Experiment
• The War On Stupid
• Educating (Dr.) Rita
• Social Service: Cultivating Responsible Fans
• The Value of Incorporating SEO-friendly Content into Web content

1:15 – 2:15 pm Break out session #2
• Be a Big Fish in a Small Pond: Growing Your Venture Overseas
• Connecting Georgia Greens – Real World Examples
• Creating and Leveraging Sustainable Social Media Communities
• Crowd Financing 101
• The Creative (not creepy) Use of Social Media Analytics
• Social Media for Advocacy: Using Next Generation Tools to Spread Awareness and Influence Policy
• Quit the Daily Grind: A Former Newspaper Reporter’s Social-Media Journey to Freelance Success
• The Social Journey
• Designing for the Mobile Age

2:30 – 3:30pm Break out session #3
• Create, Connect, Collaborate: Words that work online
• The Intersection of Social Media and Communicating Sustainability
• The World Has Gone Mobile: Use Your Basic Web Skills to Build iPhone and Android Apps
• Why Time Consuming Blogging, Twitter and Facebook Strategies May NOT Work for Your Business: Consider These Alternative Social Media Strategies
• Mine! No, Mine! : Who Owns Social Media?
• Would You Like A Badge With That? Event Organizing In A 2.0 World
• Building Web-Based Augmented Reality Experience
• She Said, He Said
• Crowdsourcing content: The social consumer as a source for content and dialogue
• Social Media Mistakes and how to handle them (Dealing with Online Reputation Management)

If you would like to  join us, use discount code “CSJ15” by January 20th and get 15% off SoCon12’s already low price. Seriously…it’s a steal!!

Here is a link to their Facebook Event and for my twitter peeps, the hashtag is #SoCon12. Hope to see you there!!

Build it and they will come… NOT!

Not too long ago I met a woman at the gym who asked me what I do for a living. I told her that I have a company that does social media marketing for other companies. She said, “Social media?? Oh, I have that for my company. It doesn’t work.” That made me curious so I asked her more about it. How does she use it? Which platforms does she engage on? Turns out that her son set up a Facebook page and twitter account for her. But that’s it. Nobody posts engaging content nor does anyone monitor it so as to respond to people making inquiries about her spa.

analogy on how you have engage your audience for social media to work.

There is a big difference between “having” social media and *using* social media. It’s sort of like having a car but being disillusioned because you never get to go anywhere. Does that mean your car doesn’t work?? Of course not! Having a Facebook page is great. But that’s just a platform for the conversations that you might have. It’s not the conversation itself. It’s not hard, either. It just takes time.

Do you have social media? If so, do you actually use it??