Social media is all around us these days and there is no escaping it, especially if you own a business. When used properly, it can be a very inexpensive tool to reach out and connect with your customers, breathing personality into your business and making them feel like they are interacting with people and not just a business. When used incorrectly, or I should say improperly, it can quickly turn against you, bringing about something more fearful than just a bad review and that my friends, is, the mob mentality!
Now , in my opinion, no one wins when it comes to the mob mentality. It brings out the ugliness in everyone on both sides. The sad fact is that’s not going anywhere, anytime soon. Our only hope is to contain it and one thing and not thing alone can aid that cause and that is social media etiquette. In today’s society, everyone is connected to the internet and someone is always watching. With the opportunities sites like Yelp, Facebook and Twitter, to name a few, provide customers, posting a bad review or recounting a bad experience or interaction is merely a click away and people usually won’t hesitate to do so. A customer might visit a business dozens of times, if not more, and never have an issue while also never acknowledging the good service but on the other hand, have one bad experience or one bad service and quickly jump online to reflect that experience with a negative review or rating. It seems unfair, but that’s just how it is today. Instead of talking to a manager or person in charge about their experience, customers find it easier to avoid interaction in exchange for the safety, security and sometimes the anonymity that the internet provides. You must remember that there are always eyes on you in the social mediasphere, whether it be customers, peers, fans, friends or colleagues. When someone posts a bad review, the most important thing is how you react and believe me, your replies and reactions to negative reviews carry more weight than the review themselves. One wrong thing said and the mob mentality will come down on you before you know it. As a business owner, this can sometimes be frustrating and your first reaction is to lash back, but a smart owner or social media manager knows when to be objective rather than subjective when dealing with such. The best reaction I have found is one that is not immediate. Take some time, a few hours, even a day, but make sure your reaction address only the facts of their grievances and make sure that your emotions are taken completely out of the response. There is no award for how quickly you respond as much as how you respond. You must always answer thinking about how many potential and existing customers are watching and reacting negativly not only can spark a terrible backlash, but it also speaks a lot about you as business owner. Yes, maybe you think the customer is wrong, but insulting them and arguing is never the solution. Invite them to discuss the matter privately, always thank them for their feedback and be appreciative of them bringing a problem to your attention. A nice tip is to occasionally admit that you sometimes make mistakes and you appreciate feedback but you also like to hear when you’re doing things right. You may not be able to control how your customers act, but you can control how you react. With all that being said, it’s important to treat your social media accounts with care and caution and don’t underestimate them. It shouldn’t consume all of your free time but If you’re not going to put forth the effort that it requires, maybe it’s time to consider assigning the duties to an employee or hire someone to manage your online presence. In any case be hesitant who you are turning the reigns over to and make an informative decision. A monthly fee might be worth avoiding a disaster, consider it part of your advertising budget.