Social Media Don’ts For Small Businesses

There are many articles stating what SME’s must do in order to grow and manage their social media accounts. Yet there are very few articles stating what they shouldn’t do.

Businesses must treat their audiences as in-store customers, showing them respect and providing exceptional customer service, whilst avoiding making the following mistakes.

As simple mistakes on the businesses behalf can lead to detrimental, irreversible effects on your reputation, brand image, customer attitudes and sales.

Avoid Negative Feedback

Negative feedback on social media can be daunting. It is there for the world to see. The thing is it is bound to happen, so you need to know how to address it.

In many instances you will see SME’s delete posts reporting negative experiences. This is a big no. Generally people post to share their negative experience so it can be addressed. By deleting the post you will aggrevate the customer leading them to leaving a review (which can’t be delted) as well as sharing your ill practice with their social network.

You shouldn’t simply ignore negative reviews either as it looks bad on your businesses behalf. You will be seen as a company with no regard for its customers experience. Plus lots of people know mistakes can happen, so as long as you address them and express your intention to alleviate the issues they will come back again.

Be Hostile (reference local fitness chain)

Even worse than avoding the negative feedback, you have the companies that become hostile to those who post it.

Case study

Recently I was going to apply at a supplement store (I won’t reveal who) and I decided to have a look at their social media accounts. I was absolutely blown away with how they handled a negative review.

Someone had left a bad review (I later found it it was a former employee). They hadn’t posted a long description or anything, just the one star rating.

One of the store’s managers then started abusing the former employee with personal comments, sharing private text messages and telling her to delete the post. The store’s owner also got involved, to a lesser extent, but did nothing to alleviate the situation none the less.

As I said I was blown away with their response. The consequence of their actions will permanantly scar the store. Over the next few days the store got close to 20 negative reviews from friends and family of the former employee.

Prior to the incident that had a 4 star rating, now they are down to 1.5. Which for those who don’t know the background will assume it’s due to poor service and products. Even some of those who know the full story will boycott the store sue to their outburst.

Having a negative feedback can be difficult, but under no circumstances should you accuse the customer of falsifying their claims, or abuse them. Even if for whatever reason the customer is lying or exaggerating the situation.

If you do show hostility, the possible repercussions on your business are endless. They can take shape in the form of more bad reviews, buycotts, bad publicity, reduced sales and in extreme cases shut downs.

It’s especially important for SME’s to uphold their professionalism at all times, as most of which operate is smaller communities and word of mouth travels fast.

Political stances (reference skating rink in Wollongong)

Having political stances can be a very risky activity for businesses to partake in. In some cases in may act as positive PR, earning you positive earned media. But in many cases it can decimate your company.

Case Study

This is a very recent example where an owner had to sell their company due to taking a political stance. Whilst the incident occurred in store, the consequences took place via social media. I will disclose the rink as it was shut down.

Two 20 year old women were on a date at a skating rink in Wollongong when they shared a brief kiss, “nothing over 2 seconds”. After a complaint from another guest, the manager approached the couple and told then told them they “can’t do that here”, “it’s a family venue” and asked them to leave after a heated argument.

The couple later left negative reviews on the Facebook page and posted their stories to local pages such as “UOW Buy and Sell” — a page with over 50 000 followers.

Over the coming days the rink receive hundreds of bad reviews, received threats and were harassed constantly. Forcing them to terminate their social media accounts, shut down their website and later selling the business. As they were unable to recover.

Whilst the following example isn’t so black and white. As the venue was a family environment and the managers actions may not have been based off of his opinions of sexual orientation, but merely that of PDA in a family environment. It goes to show how taking action revolving around a sensitive topic can have dire consequences.

That’s why businesses must be very selective in political stances and only get involved with cases directly involved to them. An example being global warming and their initiative to reduce their carbon footprint.

Incorrect Information

Whenever you publish content on your business to social media networks the information should always be accurate.

Falsifying or exaggerating information, even if by accident will eventually come back to bite. When it does your brand image will have a negative impact along with your reputation and trust-which is very hard to earn back.

“Trust takes years to build, seconds to break and forever to rebuild”.

To ensure all content is accurate businesses should enforce strict policies on what can be uploaded and have select employees or managers engage in an approval process. Reducing the likelihood of wrongful information being put out.

Conclusion

By ensuring your business avoids these 4 problems you will be on your way to building a strong social media following and improving your business’ image.

To find out the 7 digital marketing trends your business needs to implement in order to compete against the competition, read the following article.

Will I author my own reality, or will I hand the pen to someone else? I am a digital marketing specialist and content creator with a dream to go international.