Why does your small business need social media?

This would seem like a question that doesn’t need an answer.  As you’re reading a blog post on a social media site you’re already attuned as to why your business needs social media.  However, just in case you aren’t we would like to offer you this cautionary tale.

A man was having some extensive work done to his house.  It included a new roof, floors, ceilings and much more, it was really a big undertaking.  After interviewing several companies he decided on one to go with and the work was completed.  However, once the work was done there were immediate problems.

The shingles to the roof were not secure on the end of the front porch.  The renovation company was called, but they were immediately dismissive.  After a couple more phone calls they said just to go up there and nail it down.  Fast forward four years and the roof had failed completely causing thousands of dollars in damage.

Numerous roofing companies looked at the roof and told the homeowner the same thing about the roof.    Armed with this information the homeowner confronts the company that did the original work to see what can be done.  After looking at the roof the representative becomes defensive, refuses to give information about the manufacturer and ends the phone call by yelling at the wife.  Has this construction company never heard of social media?

Like an Elephant

Social media and online customer boards do not forget.  Yelp, BBB, Angie’s List, Yahoo, CitySearch, Manta, Superpages.com, Insiderpages.com, Topix.com, Contractors.com and your local Chamber of Commerce are just some of the resources that people can praise or complain about your business.

Once a negative review is online the complaint must be rectified.  Solving the issues is not posting something like “we tried to work with the customer but they weren’t willing to listen”.  If your business does that it will only exacerbate the situation, make the customer angrier and turn away more future business by creating more bad posts.

“Good” negative criticism

If something bad about you is written in social media it’s important to discern what level it’s aimed at.  If the criticism is baseless, trivial or troll like it can be easily dealt with.  However, if it’s well written and legitimate then your small business needs to take it much more seriously.

Well written criticism will look at all sides of the story and think like the reader would.  A rule of thumb for attorneys (and reporters) is never ask a question that you don’t already know the answer to.  Well written criticism will look at all the angles of the story, presume what aspects the reader would fault the writer for, accept shortcomings for those angles and then hammer the company for faulty work, service or merchandise.

A ‘free’ sofa can cost money

A friend gave a sofa to another friend.  It was a nice sofa with a large ottoman that even used could’ve been sold for $100.  When the second friend took delivery of the sofa he asked why they were giving it away instead of charging a couple of bucks for it.

“I’m not in the furniture business, I’m in the real estate business;  for me to research what the fair price would’ve been would’ve cost me money.  This way I can give it away and it takes literally no time and costs me no money.”

Sure the sofa could’ve been sold for a couple of bucks.  But then what if the buyer doesn’t show up or the sell has to haggle over the selling price?

Your small business is your business and it’s what you do best.  If you want to take time away from doing what you do best to wrangle your social media placement, establish media foot prints, monitor mentions and build online relationships that is your prerogative.

However, saving dimes to make nickels doesn’t sense.  Additionally, the company that was mentioned in our cautionary tale may have a mountain of bad posts coming their way.  Given that they are not established in social media how do you think that will impact customers who research them online?

 

Follow Katie Wagner:

Katie is the President of KWSM. Before opening the agency, she spent more than 15 years as a journalist, working for CBS, ABC, Fox, CNN and National Public Radio. Katie works with clients across the country and is a popular public speaker.