Accessible Marketing

The downside of social media for businesses

by Judith Hutchinson

Downside to social media for businessesEven if you are using social media successfully you will likely come across one or more of the following. I would say it’s about how your brand manages these and can turn them around to your advantage.

Here are a few downsides I can think of but I’m sure you can think of more…..

People Complaining About Your Product or Service – Not all products and services are 100% perfect 100% of the time and therefore people will criticise and complain. The beauty of social media is that you can be aware of these comments (rather than a customer telling 10 friends in a pub and you not being made aware). At least if you are monitoring your social media channels you can respond positively. Very often if businesses are seen to solve the problem these ‘critics’ will become great brand ambassadors.

People disagreeing with something you’ve posted – So you’ve developed a following and are posting content that isn’t just about your product or service but is ‘stuff’ that is relevant to your followers (and in keeping with your brand). A joke or funny pic/video is a great way to encourage engagement from your fans. Bear in mind that you can’t please all the people all the time and some people can take offence at the weirdest of things.  A ‘negative’ can often be a good thing as people are more likely to share what they consider an unreasonable argument.  I have a great example of this and will see if I can share this with you in the comments below!

My advice in dealing with this would be

– Think before you post and use your common sense (is this likely to offend a lot of your followers – in which case, don’t post it!)
– Don’t overreact – a knee jerk reaction to a customer comment that you disagree with is never a great idea. Possibly best to wait and see if your other followers have anything to say in support of you (it may be that they will reply for you!).
– Be professional – don’t get into an online argument. Some things are better left unsaid or better taken offline (email, telephone depending on the situation)
– Learn from it – what would you do and not do next time.

Social Media Nutters – I’m sure we have all heard of the term troll – someone who basically wants to cause upset online by posting inappropriate comments or provoking arguments etc.   I believe there are degrees of trolls and often B2C companies may come across them more than B2Bs. Be aware that you can block people and report people. There is a great article here about dealing with trolls.  It’s also worth pointing out that on a Facebook business page it’s possible to hide comments so that only the poster and their friends can see it but not the wider public so they don’t have as much publicity as they think they have. I know of at least one tourist attraction using this to deal with bad language and bullying.

In conclusion I would recommend you monitor your social media, have some guidelines in place for the people using social media within your business and also have a crisis plan. Hmmmm maybe there’s another blog article!

Has your business experienced any downsides to social media?

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