Watch Your Words

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Image courtesy suphakit73/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

This post could also have a subtitle of: Especially when you are driving a company car… Or using the company Facebook… Or wearing a company logo. We should all watch what we say all the time, but when we are representing our company, our brand, we have to be extra careful. It is just as important that employees know and follow this rule as it is for business owners. A recent story in the local paper was about a man driving his company vehicle and was accused of running a biker off the road. If he had not been driving his company vehicle, the story might never have made the headlines. Perhaps even the Facebook arguments would not have happened. However, the biker was able to positively identify the business and launched a Facebook attack against the man and his company, which resulted in his loss of sponsorship. When social media is involved, these become more than just he said, she said stories. They become a little seed that sprouts and grows roots in blogs, twitter posts, online news stories, videos, etc. Pretty soon everyone is talking about it.

Is your business socially active online? Are you thinking strategically about your business communications and brand image when you tweet, post to Facebook etc?

This recent story in our local newspaper focused on social media, saying that social media can be unfriendly and unforgiving to businesses. One social media expert is quoted as saying:

“The worst move to make is to become defensive, argumentative or obstinate. Even if you or your company has been falsely accused of an offense, social media isn’t a courtroom that provides a fair trial. It’s more liable to seem like a lynching mob”

Actions, words, and appearance can affect your business relationships. Social media experts advise businesses to be vigilant about how they handle bad reviews and criticism, and be aware that bad news often travels faster than good news. Another thing to keep in mind is that social media is not fleeting. Words once said or written do not disappear. Even if you delete something, people have a way of finding those statements. And bad words travel faster than good. In the past, the average consumer will tell 10 people about their bad experience, but with the advent of the internet, it is even easier to spread the good word (or bad) about your brand. So, it is no surprise that these statistics have more than doubled to an average of 23 people told about a bad experience. Recently I was talking to a client about what happens when you make bad decision or say something stupid and then worry that the public will judge the company. I gave him the following tips.

Steps to ensure your social media campaign is on target:

  1. If you mess up or someone complains they’ve had a bad experience, say you are sorry. And when you say you’re sorry, mean it!
  2. Because the world of social media does not provide a fair trial, don’t try to present your side of the case. Say you are sorry and move on.
  3. If you or your company decides to have a presence on social media, make sure it is part of your strategic plan. Do not create social media platforms and forget about them. Invest in your investment!
  4. If you do not have the time to stay active on your social media sites, make sure someone on your team does. A comment, whether it’s negative or positive, should be addressed within hours.
  5. Follow up when someone has had a bad experience. Make sure the recovery is complete and insure that you have met their expectation. Fixing problems is the most powerful marketing you can do.

It’s not all bad!

Please keep in mind that social media is a wonderful tool and a great way to share positive words and positive stories. That is why we are so committed to sharing great stories about local businesses and doing weekly business spotlights. We want to highlight the good things that people are doing, we find it more fun to share happy stories than gossip. We know that for every positive review there are many more negative ones. Why are we so much more ready to write bad reviews than good? Have you ever posted a note on Facebook when you’ve had a good experience? Have you ever written a note to an establishment for good service? Try it! Spread positivity and see how enjoyable it is. You can also use social media as a way to build your brand through word of mouth. Allowing your clients to talk about their positive experiences is an excellent referral. We thank our clients for the positive words they give us, like this one:

Conversation with Eric of H&D Title from Sandy Bonney on Vimeo.

If you can manage your social media presence wisely, it will be time well spent. Let us know if you have any questions, we’d be happy to help.

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