Large corporations are often dragged over the social media coals when they go 'off message' or try too hard to engage with a general public primed to jump on anything that goes even slightly wrong.
But occasionally, and often not deliberately, brands get the tone spot on. Rewind to last month, when Cam from Morrisons made himself an overnight social media cult hero with his playful responses to a cheeky customer on Twitter.
So, PRWeek tracked down Cam for the next installment in our 'confessions of a social media manager' series and, true to form, his responses didn't disappoint:
Name: Cameron Carruthers
Job title: Social Media God
My typical day/shift involves…
Manning my desk with the upmost enthusiasm and responding to customers via Facebook and Twitter in a friendly and informative manner.
Which social media channels do you manage?
Twitter and Facebook. Instagram coming soon...
Which channels work best for the brand & why?
Facebook. Characters are not limited when speaking with customers so we can reply in full, because we all have infinite knowledge of our policies and products.
My brand guidelines/restrictions are…
We try to reply to every customer, unless their comments are racial or political, then we try not to engage in conversation. We try to be playful via social media, so we have a lot of free reign to create our own personality and character, but still get our information across clearly. We use correct wording and spelling, no 'txt tlk'. We respond within the hour and try not to let the conversations last too long, in case other customers are left without a reply.
It often happens that small issues escalate and become large issues when customers jump on the bandwagon. So when a customer points something out on social media, such as the plastic cotton bud epidemic of December 2016, suddenly everyone becomes an environmentalist, social media goes west and we get bombarded with comments and hashtags that most customers don't even understand. But I bet they all had a pack of 2,000 plastic cotton buds sitting under their sink, didn't they. Generally, though, it's just customers who are unhappy with products or services.
What makes a good social media manager?
A good social media manager must be good at judging character through a few words posted by a customer. The understanding of social platforms, and how people interact via them.
You always come across some absolute diamond comments and responses when your whole job is based on social media, and we have a good laugh on a daily basis. The best thing is probably when you get good feedback from a customer you have helped. A little appreciation goes a long way in the customer service world.
You would think it was the doughnut thing*, wouldn't you, but that was just the one that got noticed. We come across all sorts of odd stuff here. I had a customer complaint about the standard of our watercress once, which is fair enough. I later found out that she buys seven bags a week for her lizard, so she was complaining about the quality of our watercress ON BEHALF OF A LIZARD!
*Author's note – in case you missed 'the doughnut thing':
@PeeWeeMFC75 Improvise! - Cam— Morrisons (@Morrisons) 6 January 2017
@PeeWeeMFC75 You didn't wait for them to cool down? - Cam— Morrisons (@Morrisons) 6 January 2017
@PeeWeeMFC75 She sounds it! My advise, leave everything to chill for 2 minutes. - Cam— Morrisons (@Morrisons) 6 January 2017
@PeeWeeMFC75 If you need anything else, you know where I am - Cam— Morrisons (@Morrisons) 6 January 2017