The Grand Experiment of 2010…
BP supposedly employed 76 social mediaites pre-crisis. I wanted some verification of this claim, so as any social media user would do, I took to Twitter. If BP actually had 76 employees in social media, a timely response via Twitter seemed reasonable. So I waited and waited some more… and nothing. Even after repeated attempts, my question fell on deaf ears. BP doesn’t understand social media; that is, BP isn’t using it to engage their users and answer their questions. This could be one reason why they’ve had a PR nightmare on their hands. I might appear to be on a tangent or a rant, but I’m actually taking this somewhere.
Let the grand experiment begin
Here we go… After BP’s overall fail, I wondered how many other large corporations tout Twitter friendliness, but aren’t actually “Twitter friendly.” Lo and behold, I found a list on Mashable with the 40 Best Twitter Brands. The article seemed a bit like digital networking and corporate back rubbing, so I stopped at number 15. I took matters into my own hands from there. It was time to find out which of the 15 were worthy of being a “best” Twitter brand.
Some ground rules
Of the selected 15 companies, I asked questions that could easily be answered with nil to minimal research on their end. Each question was geared to the party of interest. For instance, I asked Adam Denison from Chevrolet, “What’s your favorite year for Camaro?” and for Scott Monty of Ford, I similarly asked, “What’s your favorite year for Mustang?” To any car enthusiasts out there, you would agree that this is a simple question to answer. But the results might surprise. Of the 15 companies I posed questions to, only 5 responded. Of those that responded, here’s how it went…
Best in show
Honda had a strong showing. I asked about ASIMO and got a response from their account and ASIMO himself. Pretty cool. They answered my question in a reasonable timeframe, and gave me more information about ASIMO. Honda’s Twitter campaign gets an A.
Better than run of the mill
Carnival gets this category all to themselves. Their response didn’t seemed canned, and they got back to me within 30 minutes of the original question. Time is critical for Twitter to be effective. Carnival’s Twitter gets a B from me.
Run of the mill
This somewhat dubious honor falls on two of the respondents… Hertz and JetBlue.
Hertz sent a decent response, but that was only after I examined what they were actually saying. I realize 140 characters is a tough set of criteria, but if your message comes out confusing then you lose the value of Twitter in the long run.
JetBlue receives an average grade as well. They answered the question with no frills. Maybe I shouldn’t expect more, but I do. Nevertheless, I’m glad they responded.
Both Hertz and JetBlue receive Cs and extra medium shirts to boot.
Pick it up
Marriott, I realize Twitter might not be your thing, but it’s time to do something different. A can opener might as well have released their response. While I was glad to actually get some acknowledgment, a fake response doesn’t bode well for corporations. You have received a D, Marriott.
Get it together
What’s worse than a generic response? Not receiving a response at all. An F goes to all the companies who didn’t care about poor little me… They are the 10 companies below without a response date and time…
While I did this in the name of hack-science, weird fun, and bitter curiosity, I do not consider this scientific research. Think of these results as more of an indication of where the bar actually lies for large companies when it comes to Twitter. For those who fell short in the Grand Experiment, there is still time to change it around. That’s what’s so great about social media. You can turn it around with the right strategy in place. Whether you’re a big business or the corner store, always respond to customers. Need help getting started? Tweet me… I always get back.
If you feel liking trying this out on other companies, send me some screen-shots, a brief explanation, and what grade you think they deserve. I’ll post it for you. If you are one of the companies on the list that feel like you didn’t get a fair shake, let me know why, and I’ll see if I overlooked something.