In my previous post on my recent Geico customer service experience, there were some very interesting responses on Twitter & Facebook. (Note to self: Remind readers to leave comments here on the blog so everyone can join the conversation). What I didn’t expect was a response on Twitter from @TheGEICOGecko.
@BillHibbler Glad to hear everything worked out well and most importantly, everyone is okay!
Yes, the little green lizard with the Cockney accent shouted me out on Twitter. And the Gecko has a valuable lesson for anyone that’s concerned about their reputation online. Follow Geico’s lead here and you’ll be aware of when people are talking about you online and you’ll be able to quickly respond.
When I saw that Tweet within hours of that blog post (which I also Tweeted a link to), I knew Geico was monitoring chatter about the company online. When I saw the gecko’s Twitter page, I knew they understood how to use social media in a way that many companies don’t get at all.
Let’s take a look at what they’re doing right and then we’ll talk about how you can do the same.
The Geico Gecko on Twitter
The most noticeable thing to me on the Gecko’s web page isn’t the cute background design or the profile pick of the little guy’s face. It’s the fact that there aren’t a bunch of tweets promoting the company. Instead, you see the same kind of tweets you’d see on a friend’s page. In between lots of “@” posts which are conversations with others on Twitter, you’ll see posts like these:
Wow, it’s a bit humbling to learn that a chap like me could have so many friends. Thanks for connecting mates!
Lucky for me the Internet has no height requirement. Those top cabinets in the kitchen are a challenge though.
The Geico Gecko even tweets a list of others to follow on Twitter. Just like most ordinary people do. In other words, the lizard understands that social media isn’t a classified ad space, it’s a conversation. The company does have an @GEICO account and that’s where you’re more likely to see a commercial plug. From time to time, the Gecko will retweet the @GEICO account but mostly he’s just responding to others and being a friendly customer service agent. And, by the way, the gecko isn’t alone, the caveman is on Twitter, too (@GEICOCaveman) and he provides a similar level of engagement.
Tracking What People are Saying About You in Social Media
So how did the little green guy find me in the first place? And how could you similarly keep track of what people are saying about you?
There are a few different ways to go about this. First, you can just search for your name, your company’s name or the name of your product using Twitter’s regular search feature. A better way might be to use a free monitoring service like Social Oomph (<--Affiliate Link). Social Oomph (formerly Tweetlater) offers a variety of services I use but the free account will let you get an email, or a daily digest, every time someone mentions your Twitter account or whatever keyword you specify is mentioned on Twitter. You could also use this to monitor when people are discussing your competitors, keywords in your niche, etc.) While you can do similar searches for Facebook and use Google Alerts for mentions on blogs and websites, my sister, Misty Khan, turned me on to an amazing new service that lets you monitor almost everything you can imagine via your email in box called Nutshell Mail. I’m going to do a full review on them later this week.
How to Respond in an Appropriate Manner
First, respond quickly. By tweeting on the same day as my blog post, the Gecko became part of the story while the conversation was still going. I mentioned it on Twitter and Facebook while people were still actively commenting about it. And of course you always want to resolve a problem as soon as possible.
Second, be friendly and show some empathy. The Gecko expressed that he was pleased everything worked out well and grateful that everything worked out okay. And if an apology is needed, offer it.
Third, be authentic. Whomever is behind the Gecko’s communication clearly understands the character. The voice, concern and sense of humor completely match the character we’ve all seen on TV and heard on the radio.
Fourth, pay attention. If there’s a problem, seek to understand the other person before rushing to defense mode.
Also, don’t forget the conversation isn’t happening in a vacuum. Others are watching.
Did I miss anything? If so, or if you have a comment, join the discussion below.