The Power of One: Why Every Customer Matters

By Tiffany Hopkins

Influencers, the people we as social media marketers obsess over in hopes that a Facebook post, tweet, or Instagram photo will ignite sales or drive an influx of new fans to a brand’s social channels, are often identified by their number of fans, followers or Klout score.  What’s often lost in the mix is how powerful one person’s brand experience can be when shared on social media (particularly Facebook) independent of the size of his or her network.

As these examples show, a positive or negative brand experience online or off can have significant implications that lead to major social media fortune or disaster.

Example 1: In January, Australian Matt Corby posted a photo to Subway’s Facebook page of his footlong sandwich alongside a measuring tape to prove it was short an inch. The photo generated 100,000 Facebook likes, a mini media frenzy (including a New York Post cover story), and even a lawsuit. Subway is certainly feeling the heat spurred by one customer’s experience

Example 2: Californian John Cardinal took to Facebook to challenge Coca-Cola to create pink cans and donate 30% of their sales to Breast Cancer research this past October. Although Cardinal exceeded his goal with over 2 million likes, the brand was not able to make good on his proposal citing on their blog that they did not have the necessary lead time to execute the request. Still, two million Facebook likes and capturing the attention of one of the world’s largest brands is no small feat.

Example 3:  Brandon Cook’s Facebook wall post describing how the store manager at his local Panera did not hesitate to make his dying grandmother a cup of her favorite Clam Chowder soup although it was not on the menu that day warmed the hearts of many, garnering over half a million likes and thousands of comments.


As social media marketers we must recognize that every customer has the potential to be an influencer and develop a 360-degree customer service strategy online and off that values each and every interaction while also redefining our metrics of success to place a greater emphasis on individual customer satisfaction.

Otherwise, one unhappy consumer may land your brand on the cover of the New York Post, in court or in Subway’s case, both.

How do you make every customer interaction count? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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  • http://www.facebook.com/saddie.parada Saddie Parada

    I like to ask questions, listen, and take the time to appreciate them for contributing to my post.

  • http://blog.mdsuburbanhomes.com/ Ken Montville

    This post also points up the importance of sharing positive experiences as well. We all seem to get drawn to the negative and, God knows, the media thrive on it. Yet, companies and people who do great things need the recognition, too. Whether it’s an individual like the manager at Panera referred to in this post or a whole company like Zappos or whoever.

    That way we know who to gravitate to as well as who to run away from. Plus, it restores our faith in humanity. :-)

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  • http://www.socialbakers.com/ Michal Smetana

    I found the story of John Cardinal really incredible. In the last few weeks, we could be witnesses of many Facebook Photos, where there was a person holding a paper where it was written that if they could get, for example, 1 million likes someone would do something. I know that this is slightly different, but we can no longer ignore the power of a single individual on social media and especially Facebook, because as we could se from John’s message to Coca-Cola, even one individual really have a significant power.

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