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Going viral on social networks: compelling, quality experiences.

By Anna Drennan on Jan 31, 2012 7:00:00 PM

Social media gives consumers the power to voice their experiences of a company, and spread them across the Internet.

Statements on how social media is changing communications often instill fear in the hearts of many a PR or customer service manager; but they needn’t. It’s not all doom and gloom when you look at what social media can do to spread positive customer experiences. 

Many of you will have heard of the recent story of three-year-old Lily Robinson’s letter to Sainsbury’s. For those of you who haven’t, this curious young customer wrote to the leading UK supermarket, to ask why their best-selling ‘Tiger’ bread, wasn’t in fact called Giraffe bread. Her letter, along with Customer Manager Chris King’s endearing response, became a social media sensation – trending on Twitter and shared amongst Facebook friends.

"I think renaming tiger bread giraffe bread is a brilliant idea - it looks much more like the blotches on a giraffe than the stripes on a tiger, doesn't it?"

This is a great story of what social media can do for your brand when you’re delivering great customer experiences throughout your business. Consumers respond well to genuine displays of customer care, and when they’re impressed – they share.

This story is more than just a cute  anecdote – it serves to remind us the need for pervasive, quality customer experience at every touch point. Social media isn’t an avenue to manipulate your company’s image, or make token efforts to appear as though you care – it has a life of its own. Power really does lie with your fans and followers. Sainsbury’s delivery of positive experiences offline has paid off with plenty of positive attention online.

Sainsbury’s has responded well to the surge in social media interest around this particular story. Taking the experience back offline - Tiger bread has now, much more sensibly, been renamed Giraffe bread, in response to general preference for the 3-year-old’s suggestion. Customer experience, product feedback, crowdsourcing and marketing - all playing out naturally with the help of social networks. 

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