Monday, February 8, 2010

Corporate marketing via social media. It's not as easy as it looks.

How many of you have heard of Twitter?

In brief, it's a Micro-blogging site where you share what's going on RIGHT NOW in 14o letters and spaces or less. It's a little bit like what would happen if Blogger shagged a chat room. If you are lucky, your Tweets will be replied to, or if they are interesting enough, Retweeted by your followers to their followers. This is useful if, for example, you are looking for a stolen car, or if you want to know how the traffic is in Ruwi, or if you are a business who has something interesting to sell.

From a corporate perspective, twitter is a tool to supplement Broadcast or print Media. Instead of just Yelling At people about what you are selling, you are Communicating with customers. Twitter provides a Low-cost opportunity to relate to customers and receive 360* feedback, while hopefully building a loyal customer base who will follow you, and your tweets.

But social media can bite back. By providing a public forum to interact with customers, you are also providing a public forum for customers to air grievances, so you had better be prepared to solve problems, listen to your customers, and take criticism like a Big Boy. Let me give you some examples of how it's working here in Oman.

Here is a great example of an Omani company using social media to connect with their customers. Go have a look: Yes, that's right, Oman Air, our stogy, unfriendly national airline is using Twitter to fantastic effect. Whomever is managing their twitter account is so good, that I am actually considering flying with them again.

But sometimes, you can Fail, and Fail big. The conversation pasted below reads from top to bottom. The characters are

Nawras: The newly launched corporate twitter identity for Nawras Oman. Have a look, they are not following anyone, or replying to tweets directed at them.
Beyrouti: One of the senior guys who works in Marketing and Branding at Nawras. The fingers behind the Nawras tweets.

Developar : A young Omani Blogger, Twitterer, and a web, desktop &mobile games developer

Muscati Sangeetha BaderHinai and Otheroman : Omani Twitter Users, and Bloggers. Smarter than we look.

The scene below is what happens when your followers provide helpfull suggestions on how to be better on twitter, and the Branding manager looses his temper. It's a Fail. Remember, read top to bottom.

That tweet from Nawras was their last tweet to date, but there has been an awful lot of discussion about the meltdown on twitter, and now, Youtube! Clip credits to @Developar Hilarious!

For those of you who are looking forward to what I can only assume will be another massive Social Media Fail, Omantel has entered the fray with a twitter account for what is without a doubt the most hated company in the entire country. And they are already making the same mistakes Nawras did.

And if you want a laugh, have a look at the (totally fake) Original Omantel Twitter page which is, in my mind, a far better representation of Omantel's customer service abilities. Really, go. It's hilarious.

Even more hilarious, is that a lot of people read that and think it's actually Omantel. That's how bad Omantel is.


Anonymous said...

hahahahaha I enjoyed every bit and piece of this Post. Well done with Gathering the information and Hi5 on your brief introduction.

TI3GIB said...

Would you mind this post be aggregated somewhere else ?

TI3GIB said...


That's syndicated, not aggregated.

Oman's Collective Intelligence said...

Good job! I had followed this little "debate" and it is amazing how big corporations can be so (mis)represented by its employees. What i didn't know is that Omantel entered the scene, you're right, they are such a bad way though.
Social media can be lethal if not properly used; the whole point is not just to send out nonsense but instead to listen, interact and engage with people just like the guys at Oman Air.
I have a blog mostly dedicated to this and sadly none of those guys seem to read it, maybe I’ll pay them a visit…;). Again, well done.

muscati said...

For the record, to be fair, @omantel is not the official Omantel twitter account. I'm sure we all know who the Omani tweet who registered the account is.

Omantel only joined Twitter yesterday with the handle @omantel_om after failing to get a response from Twitter to get their brand name back.

Carrington Malin said...

Nice post! We've seen many interactions like this over the past 18 months. What's really interesting is to see which brands learn from their mistakes and which ones try to soldier on ignoring advice / criticism. Let's watch and see what happens next! :)

Looking forward to more social media tales from Oman!


BTW Bookmarked your blog post to appear on our Netvibes social media news page here:

alexander... said...

Oh how bloody, wonderfully, smashingly marvellous!

Thanks for the belly laugh! :)

Innovation 360 said...

Great example of a company doing something (social media) because "everyone else is doing it" but not really understanding how or why. Amazing that this guy didn't get it to the point he insulted so many customers and potential customers. Its a new world, only companies who get it will survive!

Suburban said...

Thanks for the comments and complements guys!

T- by all means, syndicate, or whatever.

OCI- good points. It's worth noting that the "original" omantel is not actually Omantel. Even though it sounds like it could be.

Muscati- THanks, I didn't make that clear in the original post. Fixed now.

Spot on, Alexander, Innovation, Thanks for the links and the lovely complements. Much appreciated. I heart You.

three peas said...

Fantabulous post! Anyone who believes (believed?) @omantel was official Omantel, well, they just had it coming for them.

Suburban said...

3 peas, I'm trying to DM you but I'm not sure it's sending.

can you email me at ?


Kishor Cariappa said...

Great post. Three cheers to blogger/twitter...err...the power of social media.

Stimulus said...

LOOOOOOL That video was absolutely hilarious!!!! Thanks for sharing!

Noora.S said...

Who would've thought there'd be so much drama in the Oman Twitter community?

I love this post.

And I love the fact that @Omantel (fake) has far more followers than (the real) @Omantel_om.

Anonymous said...

Well I didn't know that Omani community on Twitter is that big.

I enjoyed this post, and it's a really funny vid.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Suburban said...

Anon, that's just hurtful. He made a really stupid mistake, and I assume learned a lesson. Your comment has been deleted.