Open letter to Brands on Twitter and Facebook…

Posted by Lipglossiping On September - 2 - 2010

I’ve been sitting on this post since the beginning of the year.  My draft folder has it dated from February!  Why haven’t I posted it?

Well… whenever I read it, it makes me wonder if I sound like a bit of a know-all to be honest.  But, the truth is… I’m running short on posts following my holiday (you didn’t even know I was gone did ya?!) and I haven’t really done a rant for AGES!

So, here goes…

Brands have been taking Social Media seriously for the last couple of years and have been implementing techniques to jump on the bandwagon left, right and centre… sometimes, without really thinking it through.

I have tons of random thoughts on brand involvement with Social Media outlets (inc. blogs) in general but I’m curious on how you guys feel they’ve impacted on arenas like Twitter and Facebook?

Ultimately, I think it’s a great advancement and would love to see all brands employ a mouthpiece for these channels.  It often makes a faceless corporation accessible to their customers in a way that’s relevant and current.  Though, when it goes wrong… it’s like the best car crash telly ever.

Here’s my 10 top tips for brands wanting to engage with Twitter and Facebook

1. Serve your customers!

If a brand takes on Twitter or Facebook, they need to be prepared for Customer Service duties… don’t ignore followers/readers with complaints.  By all means, direct them to an appropriate email address (though that does feel a little like ‘fobbing’ off).  If you can address issues directly… top marks.

2. Don’t dabble… commit!

I see lots of brands engage in Social Media half-heartedly.  Big No No!   There’s nothing worse than asking a question through an ‘instant’ medium (during working hours) to receive a reply a week later!  Sort it out!

3. Don’t use Twitter/Facebook as a holding page for links to other social media channels.

It irks me so much to click on a Twitter link only to be taken to the Brand’s Facebook page which contains nothing but a link to the Brand’s blog or website.  Thanks for the wasted clicks.  I’ll just click off.

4. It’s OK to have personality!

Allow a little personality through.  We love seeing you make a mistake and tweet the wrong person the wrong thing and then fluster as you try to correct.  FUN!  It’s also nice if you let us into your world… tell us about your ah-mazing chocolate croissant you picked up on the way into work.  After all, it’s all that banal stuff that makes the Twitter-verse go round!

5. Know when to draw the line.

This one’s tricky… at what point does personality edge into inappropriateness?  Would love to hear your thoughts on this.  It happens and it makes me cringe… if you wanna share last night’s shenanigans with @bestbud then THAT’S what DMs are for!

Unless you know me personally, I’d rather you didn’t call me ‘hun’ either.

6. Give us twitter/facebook specific discounts or offers.

Make us feel like a special part of your family.  If we like you enough to follow/add you… then we’re listening.  Reward that.

7. Showcase your brand and let us tell you what WE think!

Let us in, we’re nosey buggers.  Tweet us a pic of your desk, the R&D dept (though maybe not Accounts eh?), what are you guys working on?  What can we expect from you next?  Twitter and Facebook are such great venues for gauging consumers opinions and feedback, you’d be silly not to utilise the potential.  Plus, we love to feel all important, so give us the opportunity to help you (and possibly shape you as a company!)

8. Make sure your Social Media mouthpiece has a grasp of netiquette.

Do they ‘follow’ anyone back on Twitter?  In an environment that’s all about the flow of information… this communication needs to be 2-way.  If you aren’t following any relevant users or commenters back, what’s the point?  You’ll be asking us to sleep in the wet patch next.

9. You scratch our back, we’ll scratch yours…

Word of Mouth is obviously a hugely significant part of modern marketing and in this age, information is King (and Queen).  If you want your followers to talk about you… engage, engage, engage.

10. Relish the prospect of getting closer to your consumer.

Yeah, we’re scary.  We call you names on Twitter and the same rules of professionalism don’t apply to @badassmomma543 on Twitter as they do to you.  Life sucks.

However, as with all Social Media (blogs included), the rewards can be so much more fulfilling when you loosen that iron-fist and relinquish some of that control.  Take the step that brings you closer to the people who are out there actually BUYING your stuff.

Last year, I listened to an owner of a well-known beauty brand tell a group of people (without any PR prompting!) that (social media) was the purest form of feedback a brand could receive.  I can’t even tell you how much the sincerity in those words raised my spirits as a consumer.  Some brands really do ‘get it’.

Does yours?

What do you guys think?  I know loads of you are on Facebook and Twitter… are there any specific brands that are getting it right or (gasp) wrong?!  Is there anything I’ve missed out… anything you don’t agree with?

33 Responses to “Open letter to Brands on Twitter and Facebook…”

  1. Tiffany says:

    This is such a fantastic post! You don’t sound like a know-it-all at all, in my opinion. I can’t really say I disagree with anything you’ve said here. I think the times are changing and beauty brands need to take note and jump on the bandwagon!

  2. Charlie says:

    Regarding 5. I would have thought the obvious answer for a brand is to have a professional and a personal account. It’s not rocket science is it!

    The netiquette thing is important too. And to talk about that in more detail as well as an understanding of how Twitter (in this example works). I have lost count of the number of brands who request you DM them (to enter a competition, ask a question, to get more info) which is impossible unless of course they follow everyone their tweet is aimed at. That one happens all the time!

  3. i absolutely agree with all of these! 100%!

    it absolutely irks me when i don’t receive a reply when i’ve sent out an email. i’ve sent lush 2 and never received a reply on either occasion. =/

  4. Great Post!

    I so hate the tweets that redirect me to facebook…drives me mad.

  5. So much of this had me shouting “yes” at the computer. I hope lots of companies read this and take it on board! Thanks! Emma x

  6. Hannah says:

    Elf’s facebook page is getting it SO right, especially considering the whole bargain brand thing. It’s almost always got a free shipping/discount code floating around, competions, swatches and they actually reply to comments fairly quickly. Thumbs up for them!

  7. Ally Dodd says:

    Maybe it’s just me, but I really dislike brands that continuously retweet anything remotely good said about them on Twitter. Their timelines are just full of RTs and no actual tweets. That’s not engaging with consumers IMO, it’s just spin.

  8. Louise says:

    I love this post. I don’t think I’ve seen any brands get it wrong as of yet, I follow the likes of Sleek, Accessorize, Simple, 17 and they are all great at interacting with me and others (Plus there are regular competitions!)
    These are great tips! :)

  9. Adel says:

    hahaha ‘You’ll be asking us to sleep in the wet patch next’ – cracked me up!

    I agree with the points you’ve raised here though, if it’s done well , the use of social media and send a brand sky rocketing, done badly and well, the damage can be immense!

  10. Leanne says:


    Some brands get it very much right on Twitter, but I must say Urban Decay are TERRIBLE. Like Ally said, they’re one of those brands who constantly retweet good things that have been said about them, but they ALWAYS ignore questions/negative comments.

    I remember this one time, Liloo tweeted them asking a question about something and she didn’t get a reply, I @replied to her saying good luck ever getting a reply from @UrbanDecay411 unless you’re kissing their arse… and Urban Decay @replied to me with something REALLY shitty haha. I can’t remember what it was, but it was certainly not appropriate for a brand representative to say if they had any interest in keeping their customers.


    • swatchgirl says:

      Urban Decay are about equal with Make Up For Ever in the terrible stakes! I’m following your brand because I want something different and more current than what I could read on your ‘about us’ page – not actually interacting on social networking is just so pointless!

  11. My dissertation was actually around this subject area!! Number one thing they need to do is GIVE their target audience what they WANT :) & with a little more work… everything else should fall in place – I hope! Lol x

  12. Phoebe Dixon says:

    This was a brilliant read, I found myself agreeing with ALL those points.
    I think Aussie and the majority of niche jewellery brands on Twitter get it right.
    I can’t think of any off the top of my head that get it wrong, I usually find myself unfollowing them if that’s the case.

    The customer is always right of course!

  13. Some very good points here.

    Brands that get it right?
    Illamasqua. Zoya. China Glaze. Models Own. Bourjois. Revlon.

    Brands that don’t?
    ASOS. Urban Decay. OPI.

    I feel too old for Facebook a lot of the time and only keep my account because there are so many photos on there. I dont want to get bombarded with pleas to become a fan of a site that I’ll never visit. For me it’s aaaallll about the Twitter these days. Short sharp updates and interaction. Happy days.

  14. adele says:

    I think Xen Tan have a really good twitter!

  15. Olivia says:

    I totally agree, I always think about these things… this is something similar to sigma makeup’s case. they always censore if you’ve got moans on their FB wall.
    I will share this post, I find it clever Charlotte! thank you :)

  16. swatchgirl says:

    To go along with the netiquette point – have a policy in place for how/why you retweet comments and promote feedback from readers. Some brands are very broad and inclusive on how they refilter information like blog reviews (i.e. Zoya picks a good mix of known and unknown bloggers and media outlets for their retweets) whereas other brands don’t seem to be able to juggle this quite as smoothly or in an egalitarian fashion.

    One of the best things about new/social media is that the average schlub can now get their thoughts out there, not just bricks-and-mortar old media. Only refiltering back comments and blog posts by established media (i.e. only reposting articles from the online arms of magazines) just misses the point of crowdsourced outlets like Twitter and Facebook!

  17. Liz says:

    I’m a PR for a beauty company (eek why does this sound like a confession?!) and I found this interesting and helpful to read. I am sure it will get sent to many clients as a kind of check list to improve their services in twitter and facebook. Many of us are still learning and doing our best to engage with social media, and it’s good to read such an informative post that isn’t just an angry rant against clients and their agencies.

  18. Leah says:

    I totally agree! A company who does social networking VERY well is Lush. They answer customer services queries promptly, are bubbly (and show the rare thing called personality most companies try to drive out of its employees), and offer special Facebook and Twitter competitions. I think EVERY company who are on social networking sites to encourage people to spend money on their goods have to take the rough with the smooth. I would certainly be put off by a nameless, faceless company who injected no warmth into their posts and didn’t intereact with the ‘mere mortals’ who buy their goods.

    • Leah says:

      P.S. I saw a tweet from my ex-employer tonight advising that they won’t deal with customer service queries over Twitter. Coming from a High Street name, I found it really shocking.

  19. Pandora says:

    I don’t use Twitter, but one brand that’s doing an amazing job on Facebook is Rescue Beauty. They always reply to comments, ask us about nail polish preferences and experiences, and we could pre-order the new polishes in advance. It feels very close and very professional at the same time… I gues that’s what we all ask for.

    Thanks for reading my thoughts on this matter and posting them… great post!!!

  20. ELf,Sleek and Models Own are good . The Body Shop has just started really and had a few good members only discounts.

  21. Great post! This is stuff I’m thinking about both in my personal life and for work, so it’s great to hear your perspective. You make a lot of excellent points.

    It bugs the crap out of me when brands use social media strictly for marketing–when all they do is promote themselves. That’s a quick way to get me to unfollow them.

    I think Lush does a terrific job on both FB and Twitter. Tons of contests, and they really put a lot of effort into responding to people. I made some off-the-cuff comment on Twitter about wanting to use my Lush stuff but it being too hot to take a bath, and they responded with a couple of hot-weather product recommendations. Impressive!

  22. Carol says:

    I love that Lush holds random competitions for their twitter fans and make us feel like part of the family :-)

  23. BeautyMaze says:

    A really great post! Sat at my desk nodding my head in agreement with everything you’ve said. Especially in regards to responding quickly back to instant messages. Thats are really sore point with me!

  24. I couldn’t agree with you more! I love when brands have a positive, fun presence on Twitter and I really enjoy interacting with them. I think Illamasqua, Fyrinnae, Urban Decay, Sigma, and Clarisonic have done a pretty fantastic job.

    I also get incredibly frustrated when companies/brands violate the rules above. I think part of the problem is that many brands “schedule” their tweets ahead of time and therefore can’t respond instantly… not good! At least respond within a few hours, you know?

    And I completely agree about using Twitter as a way to connect with customers — offer sale codes, preview collections, feature blog reviews or videos of the products, anything! We follow the brand because we want to know more, so don’t just fill our home feed with tripe.

    I make an effort to tweet at a brand whenever I positively review one of their products in the hope that they will retweet (i.e. you scratch my back i scratch yours) and honestly I don’t see it happening. Stupid! And not just for my blog, but other blogs as well. People LOVE reading a review and seeing real-life product photos… and how hard is it to hit that retweet button?!

  25. penemuel says:

    Great article!

    My one addition to this is know when enough is enough – don’t spam your followers with frivolous stuff to the point where we have to stop following just to keep up with our twitter timeline. In my opinion, Zoya is right on the edge of spamming people at this point. I know at least three of my friends who have stopped following them because of it. It’s kind of fun seeing what’s going on in their “world” but some days it’s just too much.

  26. Great post, some of it really made me chuckle! One thing that really winds me up are all the strange links to Facebook from Twitter. Very annoying! I really like it when brands do try and engage, I don’t want to be ignored and it you’re on Twitter I’m sort of expecting there to be a bit of a 2-way conversation. Honestly, I can talk to myself at home anytime. Dipping your toe in is not going to get people interested,

    Next time you spot a good car crash make sure you point me in the right direction!

  27. Rocaille says:

    Great post, I do agree some brands get it soo right and some are just terrible. I imagine it’s very challenging for brands to be 100% right all the time in their FB and Twitter doings where so many people are involved, but you can definitely see when someone’s making an effort at least. However, I agree with My Lips But Better that reciprocity is still something most of the brands have to learn. xxx

  28. Susan says:

    Hi, I read this and was nodding along. We’ve had a page for Green people organic lifestyle for a while and think we are doing ok. I’ve recently set one up for our young skin, organic skincare and makeup range – OY and although we don’t have many fans there yet, we do do exclusive offers, we do want to tell you stuff about us, because we do lots of good things holistically and most importantly, we really want to hear from you – especially what you think of the products, or what you want us to provide. As a small company, mostly selling direct we are in a position to react quickly to what customers want, so come on – tell us all about it!

  29. Great post!!! You’re so right about everything!! 😉

  30. Is it wrong that I want to be @badassmomma543 😉

    great post btw I agree with what you say, there is a company out there that run a competition and I was lucky enough to win a cd from them, they asked me to dm them my address but as they weren’t following me I couldn’t do it. Repeated requests for them to follow me have fallen on deaf ears and I have given up on both the CD and company in question

  31. delia says:

    I love these etiquette pointers – i especially like the one about ‘personality’ – absolutely crucial for authenticity … you can tell when the person behind the tweeting etc is ‘plasticised’

    I’m still puzzled why so many brands especially in the beauty industry don’t connect up & integrate their consumer marketing. You go to a store, you buy some goodies ( Lancome for example) and there is no attempt to find out how you want be ‘engaged’ with, beyond a cash transaction at POS. I follow Lancome on Twitter – they don’t follow me & yet I spend hundreds & am loyal customer… the trouble is for many brands they think that the mere setting up of a twitter or FB page means they are doing “social” .. they forget that the heart of being a socialable entity actually means making a ‘conversation’

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