by Adrian :: 3.07.12

Don’t ignore the “Thank You Economy”

I gave up caffeine when I became a vegan a while back. Now days, I get a kick out of herbal tea! There’s a particular tea that really fills the coffee gap (for me) – Peppermint and Liquorice from Tea Pigs. I used to tweet about it with enthusiasm, spreading the Tea Pigs word.


To me, there’s nothing worse than paying a brand (or person) a compliment and not to have a response – perhaps a little “thank you for spreading the Tea Pigs word”. The above tweet was not the first compliment I paid Tea Pigs on Twitter – the one above just happens to be the last one (& I bookmarked it for this blog post after feeling the past frustration of never being thanked)

Tea Pigs on Twitter have never replied to any of my complimentary tweets so my excitement when this morning’s Tea Pigs delivery arrived never made it onto my Twitter stream.

Gary Vaynerchuck in his really engaging book “The Thank You Economy”  (certainly worth a read – at the very least Tea Pigs, your social media team should read it) convinces the reader that it’s time for brands to engage with their customers and proves why the social amplification is a power not worth ignoring.

Now, you’ll argue that I continue to buy Tea Pigs tea because of its quality and that therefore the brand hasn’t been damaged by their lack of engagement on Twitter. That may be true, but I’d like to offer up two arguments to try and convince brands out there to get out and have a conversation on Twitter with their customers. Stop using Twitter to broadcast message – that’s the old world of push marketing and it doesn’t work any more.

Argument 1: If Tea Pigs had engaged with me on Twitter in the past, I would continue spreading Tea Pigs joy in my social media circles. I already know a handful of my social media friends who discovered Tea Pigs and regularly order from them because of tweets like the one above. I no longer am a brand advocate because I feel they’re too arrogant to buy into the Thank You economy.

Argument 2: I would show a lot more loyalty and stickiness if Tea Pigs had engaged with me on Twitter but they haven’t. So when another tea provider comes along – and frankly I’m looking for one after being a little peeved with Tea Pigs lack of transparency about being owned by Tetley  – I’ll drop Tea Pigs without a second thought.

I am writing this blog post so I can refer the many friends and clients that don’t ‘get’ Twitter to a little cast study -so many won’t engage in conversation. If you’re reading this Tea Pigs – please – it’s too late to make a fuss and no, I don’t want a freebie thank you!

Perhaps this is my last Tea Pigs order? Anyone know a comparable Peppermint and Liquorice tea from a truly Independent Tea Provider?

UPDATE: When I tweeted this post I deliberately avoided mentioning  @Tea Pigs in the tweet. It was impressive that Hannah from Tea Pigs did comment on the post later in the day so brownie points for their media monitoring! Within minutes of my tweet I had recommendations from my followers – First recommendation was @lahlootea and then a few including @foodsafariuk recommended Pukka teas. Hats off to both Lahloo and Pukka for engaging with me on Twitter almost immediately. Not only are they truly independent but appear to have a lovely herbal tea range. I shall be ordering soon. Then Helen Tarver ( @presentqueen ) commented on the post below and added Bellevue to the mix.

And then, drumroll, as if by magic, Pukka launched their Peppermint and Licorice blend. I’ve just placed an order. Thanks everyone – now do you see the value of using Social Media to engage properly?

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  • http://twitter.com/declansynchron Declan Synchronicity

    I don’t know how independent they are but Pukka have an amazing range of really delicious teas! 

    • http://adrianmelrose.com/ Adrian Melrose

      Thanks Declan, a number of people on Twitter have recommended Pukka too

  • Hannah

    Hi Adrian, Hannah here from teapigs. I look after all the online business at teapigs and amongst many other things, do all their social media. I work hard trying to engage with all our fans on twitter so am sorry that we never got back to you. Whilst we’d love to be able to reply to everyone, it’s a little bit difficult with over 8000 followers to keep a track of everything all the time. We do really appreciate you tweeting us and love to see what our fans think. We hope that this hasn’t put you off entirely and you can still continue to enjoy our teas. Best wishes Hannah and the teapigs team.

    • http://adrianmelrose.com/ Adrian Melrose

      Hi Hannah

      Thank you for your response. It’s reassuring that this post found its way onto your radar especially given I deliberately didn’t mention @teapigs when tweeting about the post.

      Obviously not a personal criticism but I must have tweeted about @teapigs at least half a dozen times over the last year or so and I’ve never had a thank you! If you read the Thank You Economy Gary Vaynerchuk recommends that brands tackle every single tweet to avert situations just like this post. I run several businesses all active in social media and we staff our desks to ensure we can respond to each and every customer. Sounds as if you’re under resourced if you can’t do that – replying to tweets isn’t a huge ask, really it isn’t.

      Anyway, the good news for Tea Pigs is that nobody else in the market, independent or not, currently offers a Peppermint and Liquorice so you’ve got me captive in the meantime.

  • http://twitter.com/presentsqueen Helen Tarver

    Adrian, thanks to the link to my post. You’ll know that I would no longer buy Teapigs, I’d second Pukka, Lahloo and Bellevue as all getting social media as well as being proper independent tea companies.

    I love both of Gary’s books (Crush It equally inspiring) and think there are many lessons for small & large businesses to learn from this. Sadly, many still don’t get that social media is a conversation, and not just about what they want to talk about.

    Teapigs aren’t on their own on not being on top of Twitter mentions, but always makes me wonder about a brand’s real commitment to social media when they don’t engage. Worse though, in my book, are brands using bots to auto retweet any mention, good, bad or indifferent. That says to me really not getting it!

    • http://adrianmelrose.com/ Adrian Melrose

      Hi Helen, 

      Thanks for recommending Pukka, Lahloo and Bellevue. 

      I agree that there’s no halfway house with social media – you either have to be wholly committed or not. At least, Teapigs are trying and not using any automation, I do feel sorry for community managers who are under resourced – it must be a difficult job keeping all the balls in the air. It doesn’t sound as if Tea Pigs has a community manager (sounds as if Hannah is in charge of online *and* the community) and I guess this is my first recommendation to my clients: make sure you have the resources to manage your community before committing to social. 

      All the best,

  • no thanks

    what utter nonsense so much wrong here who knows where to begin

    • http://adrianmelrose.com/ Adrian Melrose

      Thanks for the constructive comment. Since it has absolutely no value, I’m guessing it’s spam.

  • Keith

    It is not only teapigs who seem to lack any understanding of how to use twitter, let alone social media.

    Using internet and social media

    I do not want marketing pushed in my face, nor do I want moronic drivel.

    Community manager? The mere name suggests catastrophe.

    Tweet what you are doing, answer questions, not a lot to ask. But do not use it to try and sell stuff.

    I will not be buying teapigs. I prefer loose tea to tea bags. I also do not like companies that pretend to be something they are not, when they are a front for a global corporation.

    Teapigs, Tetley, Tata and telling the absolute truth

    If you wish to try quality tea, try Pimento Tea Rooms near the top of Steep Hill in Lincoln.