One angry British Airways passenger has turned the concept of online advertising on its head, purchasing a promoted tweet in order to complain about the airline’s customer service.
Businessman Hasan Syed was incensed with the airline’s handling of his complaint, after his parents had taken a flight from Chicago to Paris last weekend, during which his father’s luggage was lost.
So he took to Twitter to air his grievances, like plenty of disgruntled customers have done before him, and wrote: “Don’t fly @BritishAirways. Their customer service is horrendous.” But this was an online complaint with a difference, as Mr Syed had purchased a Promoted Tweet.
Promoted tweets allow brands to place their tweets in the news feed of targeted users for a set fee. This method is generally used by online marketers who want to reach their brand out to a wider audience, but as the Twitter advertising platform is a self-serving one, it can be accessed by any Twitter user.
What’s more, the promoted tweet acts in much the same way as other tweets, in that it can instantly be shared and retweeted, spreading the message even further.
Within six hours of posting the message, which he had targeted to UK and New York audiences, Mr Syed’s promoted tweet had attracted thousands of retweets and comments, and had been picked up by news sharing service Mashable.
And it seems that the tactic has paid off, as the British Airways Twitter account soon replied to Mr Syed’s tweet and offered their assistance in recovering his lost bag.
A spokesperson for British Airways told the BBC: “We would like to apologise to the customer for the inconvenience caused. We have been in contact with the customer and the bag is due to be delivered today.”
Do you think that this could set a precedent for social media interactions between brands and customers?