With the prolific rise of Social Media and the many benefits it can have for a small business here are a few reminders of some simple guidelines you should follow to maximise this useful marketing tool.
The first thing to remember is that social media is a two-way interaction and companies cannot own the conversation anymore; companies simply cannot control the conversation anymore. If a customer has received a poor service there is nothing that can be done to prevent them posting about their experience on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or whichever medium they feel. Any attempt to manipulate or moderate the social world is normally greeted with a scathing response by it’s members. The best thing to do is to greet any criticism with a considered and honest response; if this means apologising then so be it! It is almost impossible to censor content on social media as people will simply go elsewhere to voice their opinions. Social media gives companies an ability to listen to customer issues and respond to them in timely fashion.
An area of social media that can be somewhat moderated is the output of your company and its employees. In recent years major corporations such as Virgin Atlantic have fallen victim to the social media bite-back; thirteen cabin crew members were dismissed after posting on a network that their airplanes were full of cockroaches. It is estimated that one in three employees are now using technology that is not sanctioned by their company; providing employees with clear guidelines on what they can and can not do is the most reasonable stance to take.
The final thing to remember is that if you encourage user generated content then there is a possibility this can backfire. If you are commenting on your company page or profile make sure you declare that you actually work for the company although not all companies abide by this code. Deceiving your contributors can often end very badly as companies such as Honda found out when they unveiled its new Crosstour car on it’s Facebook page and received an absolute panning.