When Social Media Specials Break a Brand Experience

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Recently, my wife, my dad and I visited an ice cream shop on the Riverwalk.  As I checked in on Foursquare, the location based service, it notified me that there was a special at the location.  I was pleasantly surprised.  According to my BlackBerry, it said “While you’re in the hood, you should hit up the scoop shop! Check in and get 3 scoops for $3! Show that you’re mayor and and get an extra scoop on us!”  I showed my wife and dad the offer and explained how Foursquare worked.  I presented the offer, but the gentleman behind the counter told me he was unfamiliar with special and he’d have no way of ringing this up.  At this point, I’d experienced a brand disconnect and looked foolish.  It was not the fault of the employee, there merely had been a break down in the system.

Unfortunately, this was not the first time I had experienced a promotion through social media that had not been communicated to the person working the register.  To alleviate this, may I suggest that if you’re looking to do a special offer presented via social media, that you consider the following:
  • Allow the folks working the register to offer their ideas for special offers.  Then, they’ll feel that they’re part of the bigger picture and will learn that there are special offers being promoted.  They may also have additional insight on what the customer wants since they’re on the front lines.
  • Don’t be afraid to make special offers for social media, just measure the results.
  • Communicate the offer to all members of your team. A small flyer behind the counter can help. Include screenshots, if it helps, and train the staff how to ring up the offer so that it is tallied as such for review of the metrics later.
  • Try new platforms and different offerings.
  • Repeat
Here’s hoping that the ice cream shop on the Riverwalk gets the scoop on this post so future visitors can be surprised and delighted not only by their ice cream, but also their progressive offerings.

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