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Every small business we talk to wants to know the ROI of social media. It seems like for the first time, people are finally starting to come around to the idea that social media might just be a viable marketing channel.
But for most companies, social media has morphed into something much bigger:
A channel that’s flipped customer service on its head and created a spotlighted platform for brands to occasionally rise but more often than not plummet in front of merciless internet masses.
You can probably think of more than one occasion where a brand has social faux pas’d in front of a large social media audience—will you be next?
Oh no they didn’t? Oh yes they did. Also, please notice that that tweet was from 2014. The Internet NEVER forgets.
A headline-making social media mishap like this will probably (and hopefully) never happen to a local business like yours, but that doesn’t put you in the clear.
That’s because the same social media tools that allow brands to put their messages on apps and sites that their potential customers can’t seem to tear their eyes away from also serves as a weapon for unsatisfied customers to put your company on blast.
And this is happening more and more frequently as customers start to expect more from brands. These consumers are armed with an arsenal of information to aid them in their purchasing decisions, available at the drop of a Google search.
Where does this usually get local businesses like yours in trouble? Negative social media reviews. I know this because some of my Blue Corona’s most popular online content has to do with deleting, removing, and hiding bad online reviews.
Other marketers refer to this as the “shame game”—a byproduct of our “uber-connected, real-time media culture.”
So what’s a small business to do?
Get rid of all your pre-defined notions about social media and start accepting it for what it is: a new and evolving sustainer service channel.
If you’re thinking “great, one more channel I have to pay attention to,” buck up. Unless you’re a large brand (e.g. Nike), chances are your company’s social media accounts may not have an overwhelming amount of customer interaction anyway. So occasionally responding to customer inquiries, questions, or feedback when appropriate builds customer rapport and builds brand personality. Did you know that 51 percent of customers said that a response from a brand on social media gave them a more favorable view of the brand?
Awe, how sweet:
And this? Well at least they made a lame attempt. Not everyone can be as funny as I am:
So what happens when someone DOES say something bad about you online?
There are plenty of blog posts out there that will tell you the best practices for responding to negative reviews; you don’t need another. But what I will tell you is to consider the social media ramifications with every customer interaction you have. If you ever needed an extra reason to delight your customers, you’ve got one now.
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About The Author: Blue Corona is a data-driven online marketing company with offices in Gaithersburg, MD and Charlotte, N.C.
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