Week 3A: Business/Consumer Communication

Social media has heightened the importance of business and consumer communication. With the consumers new found ability to publicly share their experiences (both positive and negative) online, it can make or break a business' reputation. Personally, one experience of difficult communication with a business comes to mind: United. I had a flight with United Airlines in which I purchased wifi, but then the wifi didn't work properly for the entirety of the flight. I sent an email to United customer service and refunds, and waited a week without hearing back. I called the customer service number, where they directed me to just send an email to the refunds email address... so I was stuck in something of a loop and out my $25. Then, I tweeted about the experience, tagging United. Since I have a larger following (20,000 on twitter), my tweet got noticed by the United social media team rather quickly and they sent me a direct message within an hour. I received my refund by the end of the day. So, although this started off as a negative communication experience, social media made it incredibly easy to contact the brand and have them rectify the situation.
As a social media influencer, I've also had brands contact me for sponsorship deals due to my communication with them on social media, which is great! When I mention a brand in a YouTube video that drives traffic to their site, or tag a clothing brand in an outfit photo on Instagram, brands sometimes take notice and I get to work with them at a higher level. For example, I'm a huge fan of American Eagle jeans, and frequently wear them in Youtube videos and Instagram posts. After tagging them a few times on Instagram, the brand partnerships team contacted my manager with interest in sponsoring a video on my channel because they saw my posts. It was a great way to communicate to the brand that I'm a genuine fan of their products, and get to work with them on a sponsored post.
When it comes to my business' communication on Instagram, I think it's important to respond to criticism of my products for sale in a professional and positive manner, but not give time to those just knit-picking every aspect of my brand. You don't want to highlight too much of the negativity by responding to it, but it's important to let your customers know you hear their feedback and value their opinion. For example, I have a clothing line attached to me social media presence. We sell clothing that is flattering and comfortable for daily use, while inspiring a body positive message. If I were to get a comment on my clothing line's Instagram account saying "these are ugly, no one should order them" I would likely delete it, or ignore it. However, if I were to get a comment saying "I don't like these designs, but I want to support you" I may respond with something along the lines of "We're planning on launching 2 new items in the spring with a different design, so keep your eye out for those and they may be a better fit for your style!" It's important to acknowledge criticism, but not let it overwhelm your business' social media presence.


  1. Hello Sierra,
    I totally agree that social media has changed the landscape of business communication. As you stated, a business reputation can so easily be swayed using social networking. It's funny you bring up United Airlines, they are a great example of reputation and social media. A couple years back, a video showing a passenger being removed against their will from a United flight was shared millions of times over social media and virtually ruined their online reputation. It's crazy to think that one incident can tarnish their image simply because a user shared their video online.

  2. I think your United experience and what Austin mentioned about the video really shows the power of social media. I'm curious though that if you didn't have so many twitter followers, would United have been so quick to resolve your issue? Hmmm. It seems that United doesn't care too much about their customers' experiences unless everyone starts seeing and sharing them, which is a pity. Good post, I'm more curious about your social media business.

  3. Hi Sierra,
    Reading your post has allowed me to look at social media presence from a different standpoint than my own, and as someone who has a lot of social media engagement. I wonder why United decided to respond to your complaint after you tweeted about it to your followers, when they took over a week to respond to you when the complaint was kept between you two. Maybe they didn't want their reputation to be hindered, so they decided to act on it right away, but what if you didn't have that large social media following? Would they still care to act immediately? Interesting to think about. I feel that their social media and customer service team should be better at responding to their customers regardless of them tweeting about it also.


Post a Comment