Unhappy customers using promoted posts to hit brands where it hurts adds nightmarish new dimension to social customer service
Airlines lose luggage all the time; it’s one of the many joys of air travel. But when British Airways lost the bags of one Twitter user’s father, the company had more than a stern letter of complaint to deal with.
Hasan Syed, aka @HVSVN, decided to get the attention of the airline – and indeed the whole world – by buying a promoted tweet lambasting the BA’s ineptitude.
Syed used Twitter’s self-serve ad platform to make the complaint, and has helpfully revealed the costs and metrics involved, too. As you can see, he spent $1,000 on the tweet, which netted 76.8k impressions and an engagement rate of 18.7%.
A thousand bucks is not an insignificant amount, but the damage done to BA is incalculable, from both the post itself, and from the buzz created around the fact that a ‘civilian’ has used a promoted post this way.
Syed’s not the first, though. Back in March one disgruntled Bank of America customer took to Facebook to complain about shoddy service and spent the princely sum of $7 on promoting the post.
Self-promoted posts – a feature available in 20 countries to users with fewer than 5,000 friends and subscribers – are intended, Facebook says, for use in promoting garage sales, parties, wedding photos and “other important announcements”.
Marty St. George, senior vice-president of marketing and commercial at JetBlue Airways, spotted Syed’s anti-BA tweet and commented:
But that promoted posts are being used in this way should hardly come as a surprise to brands. The social customer service trend has long played a dominant role in customer satisfaction, and as Syed himself notes, brands are expected to be on call 24/7.
Still no word on the lost luggage, but as Syed said in the aftermath of his tweet’s media furore: “I got what I wanted. I win.” Unless brands up their games, more and more socially-savvy customers will be winning at their expense.