Uttercast: What Are You Afraid Of?


I’m fond of the "just do it" school of social media. A lot of these tools are both pre-mainstream and cheap/free, so experimentation is a low risk venture.
For that reason I try not to be too quick to criticize companies and people who don’t do it "correctly." Look at ABC News and their embrace of Twitter during President Obama’s first address to Congress. Was their correspondents’ use of Twitter sparing and tentative? I thought so. Did that detract from the broadcast? No. they weren’t "chicken" to do it. They also read Tweets from viewers; plus, we got to hear Sam Donaldson say "Tweet."

Another example: I heard that someone on Twitter may have been testing customer service response there, judging CSR from a small sample. If that’s true, it’s a foolish, useless exercise.

This is not limited to Twitter of course. Uses of any tool- Second Life for example- can’t be held up to real-world ROI yet.

Are you cutting slack in social media? Or does it have to perfect NOW?

Mobile post sent by DougH using Utterlireply-count Replies.  mp3


  1. Leap of faith? Perhaps…
    I work at Carphone Warehouse and use twitter (@guy1067) every day to engage with our customers. I use it from a customer service perspective, trying to resolve issues customers might have. Typically they’re small things that aren’t too complicated and don’t take too long to resolve, but for one reason or another they’ve fallen through the system and have become an issue, and customers feel that no one is listening to them, and the company just doesn’t care. And twitter becomes a platform to vent their frustration.

    Twitter is very much simply initiating that conversation, and once I’ve made contact with someone, the real conversation takes place by email or over the phone. I’m learning how to use twitter all the time, trying to understand how customers use it, and how best I should respond. I’m trying to be me, as well as a representative of the company I work for: I think it’s called being ‘human’. It’s still early days, and it’s still evolving, but I’d much rather be where I am using it, trying different things out, than sitting on the sidelines hiding behind a social media policy.

    At the end of the day, do I know what the ROI is of using twitter – NO. But I do know that there is value in saving one customer from leaving us.

  2. Doug

    I think that we have the same ideas on our minds today…. I just published a similar post discussing the risks that may be preventing companies from engaging in social media.

    In speaking with larger companies, I don’t think that their main concern is “not doing it right” and the test and learn aspects (most of them do this with their corporate websites).

    The main concerns that I hear are legal/public relations issues. Not sure if there have been any lawsuits yet over blogs/twitter use, but that is definitely a concern for larger companies.

    The medium is young, and I think that it will take many years of experimenting, measuring results and figuring out the right measurements… I completely agree with your point – we need to test and learn and be ok with making mistakes.

    Great post.

    – Krista

  3. Guy– great to have a response from someone actually involved in CSR on Twitter– and you may not be so far from ROI– how many customers did you help that may otherwise have gone away, or driven away others?

    Krista– great point about legal department roadblocks. Also– please feel free to put a direct link to your post here– wasn’t sure which one it was from your homepage or I would link it myself.

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