The Dark Side of Social Media for Your Business

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“A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is – it is what consumers tell each other it is.” –  Scott Cook, Founder, Intuit

You’re running a small business and you’ve decided to take the plunge where social media marketing is concerned. You decide to do it on your own, without the help of a social media specialist, and things seem to be going smoothly. After a long day at the office and with a cup of tea in hand, you sit down to work through all the social media for the day, and boy are you glad you’re sitting down!

One Status Update and the Whole World Goes Mad!

The morning started out well and before you opened your doors, you announced that today was the buy-one-get-one-free day, but you failed to stipulate of equal or lesser value. It makes sense to you and the 85% pf your customers who walked through the doors that day, but somehow that notice on social media solicited all the creepy critters from society who decided to take advantage of the situation. Naturally, they will take to social media to vent. They will tell you that you do false advertising and that your institution is no longer reputable. They will exploit the situation until they are placated with a freebie, while you quietly tell them to never return to your shop again. This could upset the apple cart and damage control is essential.

Too Busy to Attend to Requests

It’s the busiest time of the month and you find that you eat, sleep, and work in a repetitive cycle that simply doesn’t have an end. There is no time to phone your mom, let alone tend to social media. Finally, during a break you decide to quickly see what is happening online, and to your dismay customers are having a field day with the lack of response on the site. Boycotting the institution is on the cards and it will take more than a few minutes to get the situation under control again. Many customers expect an immediate response and one that only happens a few days after their initial request will simply let them go with someone else, even if you have the best gear, prices, or support services.

Funny to You May Just be Inappropriate to Others

There are jokes and then there are socially acceptable mood enhancers. Although you may have  certain views, your customers may not share them, and even if they do, might feel obliged to stand up for somebody else. The moment something may come across as hurtful, irrelevant, mean, or criticizing, it has no place on any platform in your business. One of the fastest ways to alienate customers is by offending them. Once offended, customers take very long to regain trust in your business.

Social media can be a wonderful and inexpensive means to increase your footprint, but it does have it’s snags. Stick to the basics and check the updates as often as possible to ensure you don’t let anyone down. If the social media side becomes a little hard to handle, you may want to consider hiring someone who can take care of it a couple of times  week, or even on a permanent basis.

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