Rights & Money

You Can Use Social Media to Get What You Want

Companies pay attention when complaints about them appear on Facebook and Twitter

By Katrina Caruso

Everyone has a story of that time when a company gave them sub-par service. Sometimes the problem can be rectified by speaking with a manager or a customer service rep, or even by filling out a survey. But often, you end up feeling that you’re stuck with the hand you were dealt. But are you? Maybe it’s time to take matters into your own hands—or your own social media accounts.

Companies tend to take the public requests or complaints very seriously—no one wants a bad review floating around the Internet. Plus, most businesses have a designated person who deals with all social media contact, so your message will not typically go unanswered.

Twitter is considered to be the quickest and most public way to get what you want, so if you don’t have one already, it might be time to consider creating an account. And then what?

  • Be straightforward: be clear about what happened and about how the company can address your concern. (And you have only 280 characters to work with in a tweet.)
  • Include as many details as possible in your complaint, and proof, if you can. A photograph of your receipt or the name of the person you spoke with will make the issue easier to mend.
  • Don’t be rude. Avoid calling anyone names, and don’t use ALL CAPS to yell over the Internet. The interaction may be happening online, but that doesn’t mean that there’s not a real person on the other end… and he or she is more likely to offer you something to make things better if you’re diplomatic.
  • Make sure you’re tweeting @ the right account—tag the right place. Some companies have more than account for different things, and there are many accounts with similar handles.
  • Use your Twitter account for more than just complaints; you want to look like a real person whose concerns should be taken seriously. You don’t need to have a lot of followers, but you don’t want to look like a bot. Follow a few of your favourite celebrities, Tweet a few things, and flesh out your profile.

If you really don’t want to create a Twitter account, you can also message companies on Facebook, leave a review on their Facebook business pages, or comment on a Facebook post. The same rules of thumb apply in terms of diplomacy, straightforwardness, and clarity.

Photo: iStock/Wachiwit.