Social media is a complex thing. There’s no doubt about it. I’ve lead social at several organizations and have seen up close how challenging it can be to make social something that transforms your business. Regardless of the industry you’re in (auto, financial services, CPG, travel, etc.) there has always been one consistent ingredient for driving social success: surprise and delight.
Now, surprise and delight can mean a wide variety of things. There are small things, like watching the fun exchange between Taco Bell and Old Spice. There are also big things like when JetBlue, recently fulfilled a NY Jets Fan’s request to fly on the plane. Yes, I’m serious. In a span of 24 hours JetBlue organizationally aligned to full on a request by a Jets fan’s crazy request.
Here’s the official word from JetBlue, on the situation:
We saw his tweet and it wasn’t hard to schedule the plane to fly him home,” Johnston said. “Now we obviously can’t have our customers dictating their routes all the time, but when we can listen to our customers, react quickly and do something cool, we obviously make the effort to do so.
That’s pretty powerful stuff. It’s the stuff that gets remembered. It goes beyond the cost of the actual cost to make that flight happen. That’s real surprise and delight.
Again…let me preface what comes next, by saying…I know how hard it can be to make even small things happen in social. You’ll hear things like risk mitigation, ROI or scale as reasons to only do the bare minimum.
I’ve been a life-long BMW fan. One of the first accounts I worked on, early in my career, at Fallon, was BMW. From their partnerships with the James Bond to the famous BMW Films initiative, I was blessed to work on some amazing projects with BMW. Post Fallon, I still remained a fan and eventually an owner, when I purchased a 2002 530i and eventually, my current ride a 2007 328i. I bleed “Ultimate Driving Machine.”
A few days I go, tweeted the official BMW USA account, “any interest in trading a 135 for a palette of soup?” I wasn’t expecting a response. But, when BMW replied 3 days later, via twitter, saying “Yep. Now where’s the soup?” I was blown away. Check out the full exchange here:
— BMW USA (@BMWUSA) September 10, 2012
I was blown away for a few reasons.
- This was completely out of character for BMW
- They didn’t just respond via twitter…the used a foursquare check-in at Campbell Soup HQ, complete with a photo, to respond. That’s crazy creative and it definitely made things feel “legit.”
- This was MY “surprise and delight” moment. It was cool to be on the receiving end.
I immediately replied with “Well played. DM address” – I was giddy and shared my surprise and delight experience with friends on Facebook and twitter, in addition to a few media outlets. Why the media outlets? Well, like I said, I work in social…and a moment like this, deserves to be covered so that the team behind it could be given proper credit.
After hearing nothing from BMW for a while I then responded with “I’m partial to Chicken Noodle, but it’s your call for flavor. Thanks.” Still nothing. A day went by. Then another, but still no response.
It’s been a long week, for a lot of reasons. When BMW responded to my first tweet…in the way they did, I was taken to the highest of highs. To have no follow-up…to feel like this was the simply, The Ultimate Tease, was deflating…to say the least.
I know social is tough. I know delivering on surprise and delight is tough. But, you know what’s tougher? Trying to retain a life-long advocate, after you’ve publicly teased them. There aren’t many things BMW does poorly. This, was one of them.
Let this be a valuable lesson to all of you working in social media for companies/clients – don’t promise, what you can’t or won’t deliver. Take a page from JetBlue and if you’re going to promise something, follow thru and make it happen.