To abuse or not to abuse your power on Facebook? Social PR pros weigh in

Recently, the CEO of a social media firm ranted publicly about a brand we all know, calling their reps liars on his blog and in social channels. Neither the name of the CEO nor the name of the brand is important here.
What matters is if or when he should do this, using his prominence to draw attention or get satisfaction through a Facebook post. I asked him about it publicly, to which he said “We need to — it’s how it should be used.”
I’ve been guilty of using social to “jump the line” in customer service, but only after trying all the regular channels first. Does complaining personally also reflect on the company you work for, as Adam Smith discovered when he filmed his anti-gay diatribe at a Chick-Fil-A drive through?

Should CEOs and Facebook practitioners be held to a higher standard? Should police officers get stiffer fines for breaking the law? But anyone with $5 can get the same level of influence, as demonstrated by this frustrated flyer:
We asked experts to weigh in. LiveWorld’s Mark Williams, Heyo’s David George, and GoDaddy’s Alon Waisman shared their thoughts:

Mark Williams is the director of Social Strategy and Content Programming at Liveworld

Doesn’t it seem like most of us overreact and act like spoiled children with a misplaced sense of entitlement when something doesn’t go our way these days?

I’m not calling out just one person out for that. I know that I’ve done it too, and I feel pretty ridiculous afterwards. It’s a cultural thing in our always-on, instant gratification world, this sense of self-importance that my problem is the only problem that matters in this world.

My first reaction to these things (even when they happen to me) is get over it, and quit yer complaining. Stuff happens. If there is a problem, let’s fix it. But lets tone down the emotionally-charged whining and treating every problem like it’s a major catastrophe and put a little perspective to it, if you will.

Understand that I think it’s good to call out companies that fail to deliver because that info needs to be put out there to go into a larger data perspective.

If a company is delivering on time 99.5 percent of the time, then .5 percent of the people are still very unhappy, but that’s a pretty damn good track record. So the .5 percent taking to social channels to throw a tantrum, accuse people of lying and swearing ‘I’m never going to use them again’ and expecting that to have an impact is a bit absurd. Are you really looking for revenge for being disappointed, or to get your problem solved?

If the data suggests that the company is only delivering on 85 percent of expectations, though, then that’s a different set of information to use when choosing a delivery service. But frankly, expecting anyone to deliver to expectations 100% of the time is simply unrealistic.”

On a very personal level, I don’t expect any company or person to be any better than myself. I try to be right always. I try to always do the right thing. I try to always do what I say I’m going to do, and I spend a lot of time and effort in achieving those goals. And sometimes, I don’t. I’m wrong, take a shortcut or am otherwise imperfect.

When I fail, I expect to be accountable, but I also expect the opportunity to make amends. And I expect the accountability to be commensurate with my failure. Do I take my business away from a company because they failed me once?

No. It takes a repeated pattern of failure for me lose trust.