“Fans” & “Followers” to the Rescue!

Still wondering why it's important to have a loyal group of "fans" and "followers" online? Many people struggle to see the value in cultivating communities on Facebook and Twitter. Will it lead to more sales? How will this improve the bottom line? Well, here is an example of another way you could see ROI from your digital following.

On Monday, the Washington, D.C. City Council threatened to pass an amendment on a taxi modernization bill that would create a minimum cab fare in the city. The amendment would have negatively affected new kid on the block and industry disrupter, Uber, by making its minimum fare five times the price of a traditional cab’s fare. Uber brings luxury living to the masses with low-cost private drivers chauffeuring social Washingtonians around town in "sleek black cars." Launched last December, Uber quickly found an enthusiastic customer base eager to hail reliable and safe vehicles from the palm of their hand. The Uber mobile app allows monthly subscribers to find nearby and available drivers and request an immediate pick up. The dreaded haggling over credit card vs. cash payment is avoided with the app automatically deducting fare, which includes tip, from the subscriber’s card on file. The reliability and convenience of Uber gave many people in our nation’s capital the transportation solution that would suit their lifestyle. However, Uber hit a speed bump with the pending rollout of their new low-cost hybrid vehicle service, Uber X. The amendment proposed by the D.C. City Council would have dramatically increased the cost of Uber X, which is aimed at a more cost-conscious demographic. Unwilling to accept the legislation that would have potentially halted the launch of their new program in D.C., Uber quickly took to their social media pages and email lists to call on supporters to sign a petition and contact City Council members to defeat the minimum fare language from the proposed amendment. 

Within hours, the community jumped into action, putting together a remarkable response. Uber reported these actions taken:

  • More than 50,000 emails sent to DC Council members by constituents and Uber supporters
  • 4,300 signatures and counting on a single Change.org petition (out of several)
  • More than 27,000 tweets about “Uber” (6,500 mentioning “Uber DC” specifically)
  • More than 2,200 mentions for @Uber_DC
  • More than 500 retweets of @Uber_DC tweets
  • @Uber_DC gained more than 330 followers
  • “Uber” and “UberDCLove” have trended consistently for the past 24 hours
  • More than 300 "likes" across three status updates
  • Over 100 "shares"
  • More than 223,000 views (on Facebook)
  • Potentially millions of impressions through earned media, with outlets such as the New York Times, The Atlantic, TechCrunch and more covering the story.
The effort clogged the inboxes of City Council members and persuaded them to rethink the issue. By Tuesday afternoon the amendment had been changed to exclude the controversial pieces and passed. Quite a turn of events in 24 hours, eh?

Gaining the trust and support of people on social media can pay large dividends when a crisis hits and you need them. Uber fostered engaged communities from the get-go, providing them with an army of willing supporters ready to take action when needed. Having people like that in your corner is a clear reason  "likes" and "followers" can pay off in the long run. Talk about ROI!

When trouble arises for your brand where will you look for help?

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