In the age of social media, the world is watching

In the age of social media, the world is watching

You’re a restaurant owner who just royally messed up. You made a frequent customer wait an hour for a table, and the filet mignon he ordered turned out a little fishy. (Spoiler alert: It was fish.)

Your instinct might be to rush that customer out of the restaurant as discreetly as possible, and never speak of the incident again. But thanks to the digital age, customers can share a sour customer experience with a single click.

That may sound scary, but it’s actually an enormous branding opportunity.

When Samsung customer Shane messaged the brand on Facebook asking for a free Galaxy S3 in exchange for his drawing of a fire-breathing dinosaur, Samsung (naturally) responded with a drawing of a kangaroo riding a unicycle. After the digital exchange went viral, Samsung sent Shane a free S3 with his dragon drawing printed on the back. By engaging in a little nuttiness, Samsung made its brand more personable to more than a million prospective buyers at once.

The digital community is also one instant, giant focus group. Hoping to build trust, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder recently announced via Twitter that he would personally drink and cook with Flint’s water for a month. A day later, Twitter users told him to resign, go to prison, and actually try living in Flint for once. Those responses probably had Snyder’s PR team back to the drawing board within 24 hours.

Yes, social media has put brands on a digital stage, but it also gives them a chance to put on one heck of a performance while they’re up there.

Sandra Ramos