Small Business? You Still Shouldn’t Ignore Social Media

No doubt social media nowadays plays a significant role around the world.Like without social media we can’t hear about our government’s latest proposed policies, a tipped blockbuster movie or a notable football game without social media coming into the picture somewhere; whether it’s because one user’s controversial opinion posted on Facebook has landed them in hot water, or something witty has been trending on Twitter that relates to the event in question.

The likes of Twitter and Facebook seem to own us these days, and the majority of us invest in one social networking site or another as a means of finding out all the latest news about the things that matter to us, or – in more publicised cases – have a good old-fashioned moan.

This is where social networking can really start to become a pain for businesses.

Whinge, Whine and Grumble

I might be speaking for myself – but whenever I receive really good customer service, I tend to take note and maybe, if the conversation warrants it, I’ll bring it up to a friend or a relative and recommend a certain product/service or brand. Then I’ll continue on with my life and offer my business to that company when it’s next appropriate. Done and dusted.

However, if I receive bad customer service, I’ll declare my annoyance on Facebook. There’s something about posting a frustrated rant for my friends and family to see and comment on in a public arena that’s therapeutic, and reassures me that this sort of experience happens to other people, too.

It’s human nature to commit negative experiences to memory more sharply than positive ones, so it’s inevitable that we’ll remember poor customer service more clearly than the good kind – but when people start taking their opinions to social media sites, things get ugly.

Negative Press Affects Everyone

Whether you’re a multinational corporation or a two-year-old SME, you need to make sure that you’re keeping tabs on your brand being mentioned in the online social networking sphere.

We tend to mainly hear about reputation management blunders from the likes of McDonald’s or Netflix, for example – so smaller businesses can be forgiven for initially thinking that little customer service mishaps won’t do any long-lasting damage to their brand.

However, you will soon find out that no matter the size of your business, your customers can still complain about your company and conveniently let not only their friends and family know – but their Twitter followers and Facebook friends, too. Arguably, damage control is even more important for a budding business trying to get a foothold in their respective market; for start-ups, in terms of your reputation, it’s often a case of one strike and you’re out.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos once said: “If you make customers unhappy in the physical world, they might each tell six friends. If you make customers unhappy on the internet, they each tell 6,000 friends.” Never a truer word was spoken.

You could be an independent cheese retailer in Derbyshire or one of the world’s leading technological innovators in Los Angeles; if your business doesn’t partake in social media, you are opening yourself up to a world of issues. It is only by participating in these influential platforms that you can dampen the potential flames of bad press before they spiral out of your control, and instead harvest the buzz and make it work in your favour.

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