It must have happened some time ago but I just realized a couple days ago when I needed to contact them about, I don’t know, paying my taxes. At first I thought it was all a big misunderstanding. Then I put all the puzzle pieces into place, which led me down the path of writing this post.
Earlier this year, I discovered @JamaicaTax and I applauded them for the effort of becoming social. I followed them and they welcomed me. A few days later I noticed a flood of repetitive tweets that went a little something like this:
And that’s all I ever saw…ever. So I kindly messaged them and told them that by doing this, they came off quite spammy. I even went so far as to recommend alternatives so that they achieved the same objectives without appearing this way. My suggestions were to send these messages as a Direct Message (even though I hate seeing AutoReponder messages when I like a page) or put the person’s Twitter name at the beginning of the tweet. Using this approach, the tweet would only be visible on the timelines of persons who follow both @JamaicaTax and the new follower in question.
Did they take my suggestion? No. They blocked me.
Here’s a couple reasons why that’s a bad idea:
- As a new account on Twitter in general, you shouldn’t try to make enemies. You particularly shouldn’t try to make enemies with someone who is very vocal about your errors since they will probably do things like write blog posts about you.
- As a government account, you shouldn’t be in the business of blocking anyone, unless they have cursed or made severely negative remarks towards you, your agency or it’s affiliates. Actually, even then, you should keep that person very close so you know what they are saying at all times. The US government keeps very close tabs on persons talking about bombs and the President, for example.
- Someone versed in social media marketing, or at the very least customer care, would know that in a case like this, you pacify the person by accepting their criticism and indicating you will take it into consideration (even if you won’t, it’s just common courtesy)
Not one to take things lying down, I called up the Tax Office helpline. I really called them to get the answer to the question that the Twitter account couldn’t answer because they were too busy blocking me, but I managed to get in my grievance too.
The very helpful helpline customer care agent indicated that she would ‘notify the technical department that runs the account’.
Hold up. Come again?
‘Oh, your technical department runs the account? As in, not your marketing person or a customer care representative?’
‘Yes, someone from our technical department.’
And there you have it, folks. The root of the problem.
Social media is, and should always be viewed, as an extension of your marketing strategy. It is about communicating with customers (customer care), gaining valuable insight into the behaviour of your customers (market research), building brand image and encouraging word-of-mouth (public relations), and promoting your product (advertising). These are all aspects of marketing. Therefore, it is significantly counterproductive and, in most cases, detrimental, for you to have your technical team running your account.
While a marketer can transfer their existing knowledge of the market landscape to social media by learning about the technical aspects, it is much harder (I’d like to say impossible but won’t for fear of being attacked) for someone trained in the operation of computers to acquire the marketing knowledge required to run a social media account. It makes no sense to waste the time and effort if you’re not going to do it right.
So @JamaicaTax, please unblock me and take my advice provided here. I’d really like to see you be fruitful and prosper so entrepreneurs like myself can have less of a hassle in complying with the laws of the land.
Sincerely Yours, @stacyannhayles
- 5 Habits of Highly Successful Social Media Managers (sproutsocial.com)
- Ideas For Building A Social Media Marketing Campaign Successfully (livesportstoday.net)
- 20 Facebook and Social Media Marketing Tips to Grow Your Business (rant4u.com)