Anyone with social media responsibility as part of their job knows that success will often be determined – in part, at least – by the level of response and interaction you have with your audience.
To that end, it made sense on a Monday morning for Transpennine Express, the rail operator which – in case you can’t guess – runs train services over the Pennines, to ask what one spell people would cast if they could, given it was Halloween.
The company certainly got responses. But no prizes for what people were saying they’d wish for:
Hindsight is always 20:20, but spending a good deal of time travelling by train for work, I think that question was always going to be a bit of an open goal. But credit to TPE, they did respond to the theme about there not being enough carriages:
TPE certainly got audience interaction, but is that a success? I guess it depends on how they respond. The suggestion of free wifi could placate many, and it’s almost turned into a crowdsourcing exercise on how to improve services. Maybe that’s one way forward – encouraging people to suggest the best ways to deploy those 60 trains.
To be fair to TPE, buying new trains is something which comes with a lot of government red tape. According to Private Eye, TPE began first trying to extend trains back in 2009 – and the government has yet to actually place the order. Of course, it’s quite difficult for TPE to make that point without alienating the civil servants which award it its franchise.
All of which begs the question: Sometimes, even on social media, is sometimes better to say nothing at all?
Ps: For what it is worth, I think TPE are one of the better train operators. The trains are clean, generally run on time, and the staff are friendly (mostly). The refreshments trolley also stocks Haribo. Free wifi would be good – 3G is a pain to get in the middle of the Pennines.