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Why should you Social Care?

Integrating Social Media Care (also called Social Care) into your customer service program is quickly becoming a necessity. It can be used to effectively respond to customers via your public profile while tracking and listening to conversations about your company. Social Care helps your business go beyond traditional customer service and allows your brand’s personality and rapport to flourish.

Social Care Is a Necessity

Facebook has grown to 1.06 billion active users, Twitter is at over 200 million and even Google Plus has reached about 343 million. This amount of potential customer feedback and publicity can’t be ignored.

About 16% of consumer complaints are currently reported through social media alone. The statistics are proof enough; these platforms are where your customers spend most of their time. Reaching and responding to an audience of that size is important and with Social Care, you’re reaching customers on a more personal level.

Social Care shouldn’t be something that replaces your current customer service program – it should be an addition to it. You don’t have to spend a lot of time and money to establish yourself as relatable through social media but it can be a great advantage in developing your brand’s image.

Good Social Care is similar to traditional customer service, except it is handled publicly. How you respond to customers has always been important for brand strength, but customer service in front of thousands of people highlights the importance of quick responses by real people.

When Social Care Isn’t Handled Well

We’ve all seen it happen, some companies haven’t used social media correctly – significantly bruising their rep. Lucky for us, we can learn from their mistakes.


What they did: You might have heard the story… A customer didn’t want to leave a tip, a waitress posted on Reddit, and Applebee’s fired the waitress for a breach of privacy.

Ripen eCommerce | Applebee's Social Media Disaster

What we can learn: Whether Applebee’s was right or wrong for firing the employee, it handled the issue very badly online.

Once the issue was brought to Applebee’s Facebook page, they made several mistakes in replying:

  • The post was deleted from their company’s Facebook wall. Never delete or hide posts that were once public; it looks like you’re hiding something.
  • Applebee’s made a clear statement that the waitress was the bad guy. When there’s an issue, be sure to address both sides of the argument equally. Social media is not the place to play favorites.
  • The argument did not remain positive. A defensive stand makes an easy target. If a consumer or a passer-by sees a brand getting defensive, he or she will quickly jump on the chance to comment.
  • Applebee’s was a bit hypocritical. Their response, “We wish this situation didn’t happen…our franchise has apologized to the Guest and has taken disciplinary action with the Team Member for violating their Guest’s right to privacy,” was followed up with another post including the customer’s name.

The list could go on. If you take one thing away from this mess, be sure it’s to consider every consequence of a response before making one. When you create a social media policy (Applebee’s recently posted theirs), make sure it includes everything from how employees should interact on social media to how customer service responses are formatted. Always designate a customer service person to handle social media requests or complaints.

What they did: Early last year, McDonald’s ran a social media promotion utilizing the hashtag #McDStories. The original idea was to entice users to express encouraging stories about the company. Unfortunately, it backfired.

Ripen eCommerce | McDonald's Social Media Fail

What we can learn:

  • As with any customer service venue, it is crucial to know your audience. Social media makes it important to get a deep understanding of who’s talking to and about your brand.
  • Know what others are saying about you before starting a promotion.  Search Twitter for your company’s name and see what comes up. If users aren’t tagging your Twitter handle, but are mentioning your brand name, it’ll show in the results.
  • Evaluate what your hashtag says before you promote it.  If you’re using it to promote a product or campaign, consider using positive words and keep it specific.  If McDonald’s used  the hashtag #ILoveMcD, how would that have worked out?

To avoid repeating McDonald’s mistake, make sure you know what’s being said about your company before running certain promotions.  By doing so you’ll help protect your brand’s identity.  To solve any customer service issues before they become a piece of a promotion, like above, think of creating hashtags consumers can use to file a complaint.  For example, something like #McDSupport – or a phrase with your brand name.  Publish this hashtag on your customer service landing page so your followers see it and you can track it easily.

Success With Social Care

Luckily, not all companies have had these kinds of Social Care woes. Here are two examples of big brands using it successfully:

Verizon Wireless
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By creating a Twitter account specifically for support issues, Verizon has an entire public channel to show off how they handle customer concerns that doesn’t bog down their main account.  Quick responses signed with the initials of the representative make the feedback look less robotic and continue to evolve the brand’s personality.


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JetBlue handles customer frustrations through their main Twitter account. This direct approach helps alleviate the volume of calls on their phone line. By answering efficiently and quickly, JetBlue resolved this complaint through Twitter’s direct messaging system.

By adding Social Care to your current customer service strategy you’ll be able to:

  • Go beyond traditional customer service by conversing and solving problems on a personal level. Tag customers to show your attentiveness.
  • Expand your brand’s personality through personal responses from Social Care reps. It will show how transparent, genuine and reliable your company is.
  • Instant gratification. Customers don’t only use social media to complain; 48% of them use it to praise and share companies they like with their followers.
  • Build rapport with customers by answering quickly and efficiently. Although quick turnaround may be troublesome for some business types, keep in mind most users expect a response within the day – not the hour.
  • Social Care affects your company’s image and brand identity. Use it well and potential clientele will have a good reason to immediately trust you.


Have you started integrating social media into your business’s customer service strategy? We want to know what’s working and what isn’t. Leave a comment below or tweet us @Ripen_eCommerce.

Ripen Services:

Ripen’s marketing services help you navigate the landscape of social media to increase your business’ exposure and maintain its public presence. A tailored social media strategy is just one way our custom eCommerce solutions will promote your brand at its best.