What You Can Learn from @Charter about Social Media

As a Virtual Online Technology Assistant and a small business owner who has had a good deal of success using social media I’m often asked by others about how to use social media successfully for their own businesses.  Often I feel I have disappointed them when I explain why I feel social media has worked for me because it doesn’t include auto-tweets, sales pitches or using a Twitter following or Facebook Page friends as advertising targets.  These are all items that have gotten them excited about social media, so they are stunned when I tell them that none of those items are what helped me and my business.

It seems so much easier to have someone schedule sales pitch-y tweets or wall posts or a constant stream of inspirational quotes than to do what I tell them I did.  What did I do?  I allowed people to get to know me. I shared information I myself found useful. I helped others when I could and connected them to someone I thought might be able to help when I couldn’t.  The people connected to me on social media could tell by my updates and my responses that there was a real person paying attention to them behind my username.

There it was. I just gave you the secret to making social media work for you and your business. What? You missed it?  Let me try again.

There was a real person paying attention.

You know why that one thing makes a difference?  Let me share something with you to help you understand.

Charter provides my high-speed internet service as well as my cable television.  They aren’t perfect. In fact, in the two and a half years I’ve had them I’ve had more technicians here than most people.  Frustrating? Of course it is. But I’ve stayed with them because I’ve gotten some really great customer service…through Twitter.

Just last week I was having some major issues with my internet connection.  Since my business depends on my internet connection I have a cell phone with a built in private WiFi HotSpot, and although it’s not the fastest, it allows me to work when my main internet connection goes down.  What it doesn’t let me do is make a phone call and access the internet at the same time.  I had a feeling it was an area outage but couldn’t find the spot on the Charter website that could give me that information.

I didn’t want to interrupt my work to call the service line so I tweeted the following:

Can I find the @Charter Status online?

A minute or so later I received this tweet in response:

Followed by :

@CharterWhitten: There is an outage...

What that Charter tech did might seem like a small thing, but to me it was priceless. He was paying attention, identified what my need was and provided what I needed.  And he didn’t even actually fix my service; my internet wasn’t restored for another few hours.  But I was satisfied that someone knew about the problem and was working on it.

The next day I received:

@CharterWhitten: Checking in...@CharterWhitten: Happy to help...

Charter has been wise enough to see how they could use a social media avenue to connect one on one with their customers by using the @Charter as a sort of ‘bat-signal’.  Their support specialists are quick to respond, and not just with a scripted answer, but with real, individualized responses.  (Something they really should extend to their phone support)

And this isn’t the first time I’ve received Twitter support from the folks @Charter.  I’d say it’s probably the reason I’m still with them even when other services offer me over the top deals to switch.

You see, when you feel like someone is paying attention to you it makes you feel connected to them.  And that connection is what your goal should be when it comes to using social media for your business.


Tina Marie Hilton provides online technology services to forward thinking businesses. She writes on her Tips from T.Marie business blog to share insight and information with other small businesses and entrepreneurs. It also makes her feel like that certificate in creative writing isn't going to waste completely.


  1. lynne.devenny on July 30, 2011 at 11:08 am

    Great post about the real secret to successful social media usage – and cool response from Charter!

  2. TMarieHilton on August 2, 2011 at 3:15 pm

    Thanks Lynne! Sometimes that best customer service policy is really listening to what your customers are telling you. 🙂 @lynne.devenny

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