Any marketer who knows anything about social media knows about Twitter and its Promotional Tweet service that it offers to those wishing to advertise wares to certain markets.
It allows you to customise what regions are targeted and even specific keywords, meaning your advert is seen by those you deem the most relevant of all.
However, it also seems to be an incredibly effective tool for disgruntled consumers to vent their frustrations to as large an audience as possible, as demonstrated by businessman Hasan Syed.
Having become tired of how British Airways were failing to be of any use in recovering his father's lost luggage, Syed hit up the popular blue-birded social network known as Twitter to vent his frustration. Interestingly though, he decided to not put a normal tweet, opting instead to purchase a Promotional Tweet to spread his upset even further.
Don’t fly @BritishAirways. Their customer service is horrendous.
â Â (@HVSVN) September 2, 2013
By selecting his range as the US and UK, Syed sent out a targeted message to everyone who was talking about related terms. It appeared in the timeline of thousands, gaining 25,000 impressions in the first six hours of its existence, and that's excluding the coverage given by other outlets such as Mashable which has raised over 9,000 shares so far.
What's more interesting is how the promoted tweet also gained him a ton of interaction, almost all of whom supported Syed and expressed their dislike of airlines and their individual policies to travel.
Now, this negative sharing of customer experience is nothing new. It's been happening for years, but this use of an advertisers tools against themselves could well set a precedent for future disgruntled companies.
British Airways did reach out to remedy the problem, seven hours later and – according to Simpliflying – the person in charge of Social Media customer engagement was out of the office all week. But with something as huge as this, someone should have jumped on board to sort it out far sooner.
Out of all of this, even if Syed may have been a little silly to take his case to the entirety of Twitter, he did raise one issue that more business need to be aware of: why is your social media customer service only 9 – 5 in hours?
In this day and age of everything being always on, social media never rests, and nor should a business' customer service offering. Indeed, it's perplexing that a department designed to cater to customers needs doesn't cater to the times that work best for them.
Was Hasan Syed right to do what he did to gain British Airway's attention?
Were British Airways right in waiting to react?
Share your answers or any similar experiences you may have had in the comments below.