“I want to get on social media, but what about the negative things people say?”
I hear this often from business owners, and I get it. I understand the apprehension to expose your business to harmful, and potentially destructive, remarks from people online. Particularly if the business is rooted in the owner’s passion or something they believe wholeheartedly in, that type of exposure hurts, so it feels safer to protect it. It feels safer to keep the business out of harm’s way, and in 2020 that means staying away from social media. I will definitely agree that there are horrible people online, but there are far more pleasant people who are looking for products and services to enhance their lives on social media, which means business owners should meet them there. I don’t believe there are any businesses that can afford to not have an online presence, because consumers are using online tools to research, shop and share their experiences with products.
How does one handle negative comments on social media? Like everything else in life, having a plan is essential to success, and a social media communications plan is the way to go. This plan doesn’t need to be fancy, but it does need to be documented and available to consult when needed. What type of information does the business share online? Is the business family-friendly or adult-only? Does the business post about politics and other controversial issues? Does the business promote other businesses?
It’s important to address the public-facing aspect of how social media will be used, as well as identifying the internal components like publishing frequency, brand voice, messaging and the types of content that are to be escalated for resolution.
When negative comments do happen, are they handled publicly? If so, how? Is there a standard response from the business to redirect the conversation to a private platform? Are negative comments dimply deleted and ignored? Taking the time to think through everything that could go wrong is key, because an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
We know that the world of social media includes good and bad – and if small business owners want to be able to connect with the consumers that they’re designed to serve (and sell to), it’s important to treat these channels like valuable growth tools. Don’t let the fear of negative comments block the growth of your business!