Can social media actually play a role in altering preconceived notions or even snap judgments about a brand? It can if the brand takes the time to respond and treat social media like a conversation.
Wednesday morning in East Harlem in Manhattan, a gas leak caused an explosion that leveled two apartment buildings. The tweets followed almost immediately as updates came in from the media, Mayor Bill de Blasio, and the New York City Fire Department’s social media team.
In times of crisis, Twitter has become an invaluable resource for disseminating information and images. The New York Fire Department (@FDNY) and countless other emergency responders use Twitter for exactly that purpose. This image of smoke billowing from the scene was among those they tweeted.
The photo is tinted with a slight yellow haze, and anyone familiar with Instagram will instantly recognize what looks like a photo filter applied to the original image. Except it’s not a filter. The yellowing of the sky and surrounding area is caused by the smoke itself. But that didn’t stop several people from criticizing @FDNY for creating what seemed like an artistic, beautified version of a serious disaster.
For each individual critical tweet about this supposed insensitivity, @FDNY replied to explain that the image was, in fact, not retouched. And judging by the conclusion of one of the conversations, as seen here, the responses paid off. In a complete reversal of opinion from his original criticism, user @sirajdatoo tweeted “Thanks for getting back to me – keep up the great work.”
Businesses, you can change hearts and minds with a single tweet, but it takes persistence and follow-through. To the @FDNY social media team, thanks for responding to tweets. Keep up the great work.
top photo by Leonard Zhukovsky / Shutterstock.com