Each of Australia's major Telco's have their strengths and weaknesses, perceived or otherwise.
Nowhere are these attributes more starkly revealed than when dealing with customer support, particularly via social media channels.
When Telstra recently announced their competitive cap plans, I decided it was time to take advantage of the top mobile network in the country. Although the quality of their phone network had worsened, Optus had been good to us, a stark contrast to our previous dealings with Vodafone.
One particular area that Optus excells at is customer support via social media channels and I have personally been the beneficiary of excellent treatment by the Optus team.
I'm now one month into our new contract with Telstra. How do they stack up?
Today on Twitter I came across a well-written and persuasive argument by Alisha Runckel for why Facebook should institute a 'dislike' button .
Alisha makes a case for the 'dislike' button with two solid points: That for business, every post becomes a poll, while for regular people the ability to 'dislike' a post allows for a greater degree of empathy.
As a marketer, the idea of being able to casually poll opinions (and the supporting analytics that could be associated with it) with nearly zero barrier to entry almost makes me salivate. It's a great plan. It also has a few minor but potentially serious flaws. More on that later, however.
My primary beef is with the idea of 'dislike' buttons for personal posts.
In my previous article on building a quality Twitter campaign I laid out some rules for acquiring engaged followers, a vital pre-requisite for ensuring your message is read and disseminated beyond your own timeline.
One of those rules was to always look for people who have more followers than they themselves are following.
I've since come to realise that this rule doesn't go far enough. I now believe you should avoid following all but those few incredible voices that you can truly converse with and who are passionately interested in the niche you're carving out.
Once you clear away the noise, you'll find a wealth of conversation awaits with strong brand and topic focus that will help you grow a following of truly engaged and interested followers.
This week nearly 20,000 Facebook users were duped into 'liking' a rogue fanpage called 'The argument that disproves atheism'.
Like many other users, I clicked on the link that appeared in my newsfeed, mainly due to curiosity at what had come over my friend to post such a link.
A sizeable group of us were caught out, suddenly and inexplicably 'liking' a fanpage without the usual button-clicking. Just clicking a normal looking link seemed to be enough, which has scary implications for Facebook's 'social graph', if it can be gamed so easily.
Fortunately, while people might have difficulty removing the notification of the 'like', it's simple enough to remove the application from your profile altogether.
As hype-laden services go, FourSquare must be right at the top of the hysterical ladder. It's up, it's down, it's the next big thing, it's a flop.
I'm a FourSquare user. I like to checkin, just not everywhere. Who cares if I'm the Mayor of Coles? I am however in a running battle with my sister-in-law for the Mayorship of CoffeeGuy, a small boutique coffee house in Wooloowin, Brisbane. Best coffee going and an ambience that's hard to beat.
It's just one of those places that you want to tell your friends about. For this purpose, FourSquare is genius. An ongoing stream every time I checkin, either boasting or bemoaning my status and the wonders of the coffee - which is then published to my FaceBook and Twitter accounts.
Of course, CoffeeGuy isn't the only place I visit, but my checkins elsewhere are rare. I see this as more symptomatic of the business than of FourSquare: most businesses simply don't inspire you to checkin.
I've been looking at a few different tools for mapping social media presence in the real world. I suspect this could be a useful tool for business, but perhaps not quite yet: while local trends were rolled out in early 2010, there's a lack of location-aware applications that utilise maps and twitter trends that have any other purpose for general use.
Looking at Trendsmap today, I noticed something glaringly out of place in Australia.
Queenslanders don't tweet.
I get it. Twitter's a big deal in social marketing circles. I've come to love it and use it extensively - I get it. It's a great tool for spontaneous communication, for finding interesting people with awesome things to say.
It's not hard to build a following. You can have ten thousand followers in no time - or so the long pages of flashy text that are direct-tweeted into my inbox tell me.
But are those followers worth having? Will they enhance your reputation? And who to follow? All these questions and more, answered in my 7 Rules for gaining quality followers on Twitter:
Following up on my last post, I was lucky enough to get a chance to exchange a few emails with Andrew Wilkins, the proprietor of St Pete Brasserie, the restaurant 'saved by social media'.
An affable restauranteur, he was very forthcoming via email, more than willing to share a few of the secrets that brought his business back from the brink.
If you're a small business owner, this advice goes to the core of social media engagement.
This is the kind of story we like to hear.
Andrew Wilkins, the owner of a Florida restaurant has credited Twitter with saving his business.
According to this 13 News story, Wilkins posted on the business' Facebook page that the restaurant was in trouble. Not only did the ensuing patronage allow Wilkins to continue operating, but he needed to reopen a long disused dining room to cope with the influx.
It's a fantastic story, Social Media saves the day. What makes this tale special, however, is that it's not the norm. Businesses all over the globe are attempting to use social media to grow their business without this level of success.
So what did Wilkins do right?
Almost exactly two years ago, dp dialogue posted a punishing article, raking Optus over the coals for their total lack of social media presence during an unfolding outage that affected thousands.
Since that time Optus, and many other major companies along with them, have completely overhauled their communication strategies.
Social media has become such a prominent method for consumers to discuss brands that it is now the case that you cannot afford to be without a strategy for monitoring and responding to your fans and detractors online.
How did Optus change to reflect the need to address customer service socially?