In my experience, most businesses are apprehensive about using social media. This apprehension is typically increased in organizations with rigid corporate structures. In this article which was originally published in the Martinsburg- Berkeley County Chamber Newsletter, I will look at two typical objections to using social media and how to overcome them.
As a decision maker, you may understand and be intrigued by the potential affect that social media can have, but you also probably understand, rightly or wrongly, that you have a lot less control over what is being said about your business.
“What if a customer says something negative?”
Invariably, the first question I get is, “What if a customer says something negative?” We all hate criticism, especially in such a public forum, but criticism, justified or not, is a certainty when running a business. Unfortunately, we look at this as an attack on our business when we should look at it as a cry for help.
You do have a safety net in that both Facebook and Twitter have mechanisms for the removal of unwanted content created by the administrator of the account.
If you look at it as a cry for help then you have an opportunity to turn that public criticism into a public display of affection by showing that your business listens to its customers (even the crazy ones) and goes out of its way to make things right.
“What if an employee posts something that makes the company look bad?”
The second question I get is, “What if an employee posts something that makes the company look bad?” Employees are the face of your business. Because of this, most businesses have a formalized set of employee guidelines with detailed expectations and consequences for inappropriate behavior.
The approach your business takes to social media should be formalized in much the same way, with the same expectations and consequences. Your guidelines and expectations should preempt any potentially embarrassing behavior by those responsible for your social media presence.
Additionally, you do have a safety net in that both Facebook and Twitter have mechanisms for the removal of unwanted content created by the administrator of the account.
Finally, the public nature of social networks makes it much easier to monitor employees who are responsible for maintaining your presence on a particular network. In this way, it’s easier to monitor the behavior of an employee on a social network than it is to monitor a salesperson or technician who visits customers outside of an office setting.
As a business, you must take the opportunities that social networks provide to engage customers or risk getting left behind. Reliance on traditional media alone is no longer an option.
Links and Resources related to corporate / business use of social media:
- Answers to Their Arguments: Corporate Use of Facebook and Other Social Networking Sites
- Forbes: Yes, CEOs Should Facebook And Twitter
- Introduction to Facebook for Companies and Organizations
- Should Your Company Have a Social Media Policy?
- Social Media for Business: The Dos & Don’ts of Sharing
- 10 Must-Haves for Your Social Media Policy
- Social Media 101: How to Get Your Business Involved
- Why Big Brands Struggle With Social Media
- The Importance of Focus: A Guide for Social Media Brands
- One Medium To Rule Them All & In The Overload Bind Them
- Facebook’s Data Use Policy