Everyone has heard the phrase “There’s no such thing as bad publicity, as long as they spell my name right!”
That may have held true at one time, but with the advent of the internet and especially social media, a muddied name, and negative information, will spread faster than can be imagined. If an individual, and especially a company doing business online, doesn’t know how to properly use social media networks, it’s time to learn. It’s like saying there isn’t time to figure out how to use the phone, and just as important because social media sites are where customers are communicating, whether it be positively or negatively.
1. What are they saying?
The first lesson to learn in social media is to monitor what others are saying. Frequently check the Twitter stream or Facebook, look to see how many are talking about bad experiences, complaining about service, or overall bitching about someone doing them wrong! Sometimes it makes for a juicy, gossipy story which spreads like wildfire.
For some reason the public loves to glob on to bad news. Don’t be the bad news of the day, it will hurt in the long run in many ways, most of all your bottom line. If someone is making a complaint, it’s best to privately message them and take it to the “back room.” Very often they will retract their statements, and at best, put out something positive to correct it.
2. Bad Customer Service
One of the most common complaints is bad customer service, either from a well known store, an online entity, or someone offering professional services online. How problems are handled offline will make it online somewhere, count on it. Again, people love to talk about the wrongs that have been done to them, and they love an audience of sympathizers. Sympathizers are everywhere on social media sites and have no problem letting their circle of friends know how much they want to take sides against the perceived “enemy.”
Check for positive customer service, whether doing business online, offering services, or even blogging.
3. Bad News Travels Faster
Most complaints are not found to be product oriented, but how complaints about that product were handled. Remember returning something that didn’t work and having someone rudely handle the transaction? What was the response and how long was it remembered?
Most people can deal with a rotten product that doesn’t work, but they will not deal with someone who either ignores their concerns or treats them badly. And they WILL tell….everyone! It used to take a while for this bad news to travel through the neighbors and over backyard fences, but with Twitter and Facebook, it’s instantly driven to the public.
4. Where are Your Manners?
What’s the deal with rudeness and drama? How many times has there been something negative fly through the social media sites and impact, not only the person involved, but all their friends, and in some cases, their family? The lines of good manners seem to have lost a lot of boundaries and people think they have the freedom to say anything they want about another.
Many complaints can be handled using good manners before the negativity gets blown all out of proportion as it often does. What starts out as a seemingly small concern takes on another life when bad manners enters the picture. Remember, some people just weren’t brought up right! Mutual respect and kind words will go a lot further to combat negative responses than getting down in the gutter.
5. What Can Be Done About Bad Publicity?
No one is perfect and we all have bad days that we take out on others. Often words are taken out of context, or they just don’t translate as we may have intended. If business is being conducted online, be sure to edit…a lot! Go over what’s posted, read it again before you hit the submit button, be sure it’s exactly the tone and the words which express what needs to be said.
Often it’s best to ignore rather than respond. Remember, the attention span online is quite short, and it’s better to ignore the negativity if there isn’t something constructive to say. Don’t become defensive, but rectify the situation and move on.
What are they saying about you? Are you monitoring your online presence? If you are one who doesn’t feel the need to learn about social media and how it can either help or harm you, it’s time to re-think your possibilities. Maintaining a positive and credible reputation is imperative when doing business online. Make it a priority!
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