On Feb. 5, 2014, CVS, one of the nation's leading retail pharmacies, announced they would end sales of all tobacco in their 7,600 stores by Oct. 1, 2014. "As a health care company, it's time for us to take a stand and to put our customers, colleagues and patients on a path to better health," the company said on their Facebook page.
Word spread quickly. As one might expect, there was plenty of positive and negative feedback to the big announcement. They saw more than 10,000 comments on their Facebook post, and without hesitation, CVS responded to some of their customers' praises and concerns. The company also posted their announcement on their Twitter page.
CVS also responded promptly to many of the responses received on Twitter. Many of those against asked, 'why not get rid of junk food or alcohol?' Those users saw quick responses from CVS, explaining the move to one user with the response, "Unlike alcohol, which is okay in moderation, no amount of tobacco use is safe." You can see more from the Tweet here.
So what can your business learn from CVS on social media strategy?
- Making a large announcement such as this on social media in today's world of technology, almost guarantees it will spread quickly.
- It's very important to be prepared for both positive and negative responses on your social media, and have a plan on how you will respond.
- Make sure everyone within your company knows where your business stands and how you want them to respond to both positive and negative feedback.
- Stay calm and respectful to all who comment on your social media posts, and make sure they know their voice will be heard, whether they are in agreement or disagreement with you.
Whether you agree with the decision by CVS or not, their social media strategy and handling of the announcement sets a great example for all businesses, big or small.