Don’t get caught up in bad publicity
We all have something to say at any point in time. It can be a casual chat between friends, a professor giving a lecture, or a child seeking the answer to a question. As humans we love to gossip and talk. In fact, storytelling is the oldest method of teaching and we as humans learn more from the stories of others than what is written in a text book. Just like anything in life, we love to share an experience to others. Unfortunately bad news spreads more than good news, and when the press get a hold of bad news, it can spread like wild fire.
I’m sure you’ve heard about a consumer who has a horror story about an experience they have had when they were dealing with business about a particular product or service. Instead of ringing up the customer service line and waiting an hour to speak to someone or writing a letter to head office to express their annoyance, they (consumers) instead take to social media and vent their anger, or write a scathing review on a website, tell their friends to steer clear of that business, or worse, get A Current Affair involved. Now the last one is an exaggerated example of an extreme case, but the point I am trying to get across is, bad publicity has more coverage than good news, and bad news stories tend to receive more attention in the press. Forget the notion that any publicity is good publicity because the last thing you need as a business is a bad reputation and miss out on potential clients.
Social media has skyrocketed over the last decade giving people access to platforms to freely express their opinions. With more and more communication channels available to us it’s very hard to keep up with it all. But a simple yet outdated business principle plays here – ignore your customer and eventually they will go away. A negative review or bad customer experience in which the customer has posted on your social media on how the service has led them to be dissatisfied is a killer for any business. Working on preventing negativity should be a priority for any business that has entered the social media world. Of course it is hard to satisfy everyone, but keeping your core group of customers satisfied should shift your focus toward making sure the positive reviews far out-weigh the negatives, but at the same time ensuring that those who are not entirely happy are given priority so that their complaints are heard. Irrelevant details (how to claim rewards, terms and conditions) may be discussed in a private message or through email, while the crux of the resolution may be seen publically, depending on what you feel is the appropriate way of dealing with the complaint.
When entering the social media scope for your business have a plan in place or employ someone to be in charge to keep a watch over all social media channels and conversations to prevent neglect. Social media is a platform that is available 24/7, and because of that, the last thing a business needs is to lose loyal customers when they are not responded to via social media. As your social media community grows and expands, there is a possibility of alienating your core followers. You need to consider your core first before diluting your approach to please the masses you’re not currently connected to. Sometimes it’s unavoidable, but if you include the core in your growth and choices for growth it’s often easier for them to deal with change. Also remember, there are some people who just don’t deal well to change, so be mindful of that. Consider the impact on you resources and the benefits of keeping them (your core followers) happy while still addressing a larger potential community.Identify and understand your target audience well. Social media posts should be catered to have a specific positioning but not be exclusionary.
It is hard to keep track of everything with the advertising side of a business, but having good plans and structures in place so that you are constantly on top of everything is vital. You can’t expect to maintain positive relationships with clients if you haven’t worked out what your core fundamentals as a business are. It’s like becoming the coach of a sporting team and telling your players to turn up to a game on a Saturday afternoon and just play. It doesn’t work. But by having a plan before hand and working towards a goal, you can implement the right strategies and plans so the business can survive the marketplace. Of course, you want to make sure that your clients are happy with the products/services you provide, but preventing any negative feedback that might occur in the future is vital.