This morning, as with every morning, I was laying on my yoga mat at 5:30 AM. Not by choice. A frustrating back injury has me doing an hour of physical therapy every day. To distract myself from the brain numbing exhaustion I feel at that hour, I turn on the local news. Three days this week, the main story has been about a water main breaking. Riveting stuff.
Maybe I was just feeling a little more sullen than usual, but one story got me all up in arms. As I’ve mentioned before, we had a rager of a storm here in CT. Many, and I mean MANY, were without power for a ridiculous period of time. The story I saw was a nice little number about how Comcast was providing their customers with refunds for the time they spent without cable this month.
But this video segment REEKED of an inside job. It included grateful customers all so happy with their refunds! Why, it even showed customers calling up the company (on speaker phone), to learn about the exciting, exciting refund. They gave post-refund interviews in front of a calming blue backdrop. One woman happily explained that her refund would take place in intervals disbursed over the course of the next year of service! Refunds for everyone!
Wait, what? Not a single one of these people felt genuine to me. Very clearly, Comcast had the idea of allowing refunds for their power-outtage effected customers. That’s great. They decided to share the news. That’s great too, but couldn’t they find a tactic that didn’t involve basically vomiting happiness on the viewers? Comcast has a significant social media presence. I’m confident that by sharing the information online, in their already established circles of customers, the customers would have done this job for them. A happy customer breeds more customers. I know that if a company handed me back money without sending me into a panic attack, I’d tell everyone who listens.
I get aggravated (especially at 5:30 AM) when these big companies just don’t get it. Social media success, and in extension, Public Relations success, is in-depth, but decidedly simple. Just be real. You’re doing a good thing. Don’t slap me upside the face with it, because now I’m wary of you. Check out this lovely blog entry about BuyFansToday. Yes, it’s a company that will sell you Facebook and Twitter fans.
Wow, congrats on your 25,000 fake followers who don’t actually buy your product. They also can’t tell anyone about your product BECAUSE THEY’RE NOT REAL. That’s like me saying I have 25 best friends…who are cardboard cutouts. Now, would you still think I was a popular girl? If I invited you over to meet my 25 friends and introduced you to my flimsy family, would you not think that I’m plain crazy-pants? It’s a similar idea to the bogus puff piece on the early news. If your customers aren’t talking about the great things you’ve done, you can’t fake it, or force it to happen. Even in a highly digital world, organic is totally the way to go.
Rant over. Coffee soothes the beast.