I was interviewed recently on one of our local TV news stations, WJCL, as part of a story they did on the recent cases of cyber bullying. Here is the story:
Now “bullying” probably isn’t much of an issue for the average business, online or off. However it is closely related to reputation management which is very important.
Reputation management involves paying attention to what people are saying about you (and your business) online and responding to it as appropriate. It’s a good idea to pay attention to what folks are saying about you, especially on social media.
Responding in a timely manner by businesses to perceived (or very real) customer service issues expressed online has saved several businesses from a public relations disaster. However when the criticism is left to fester because the business doesn’t know about it, or fails to respond effectively, things can spiral totally out of control.
There are really on a few scenarios when it comes to your reputation.
Saying good things and you don’t know it
While it is nice that folks are saying good things about your business, wouldn’t it be better if you not only knew what folks were saying and, more importantly, who was saying such nice things about your business?
Those people who are fans of your business might be a great source of positive ideas that can help you make your business better.
Saying bad things and you don’t know it
This is (nearly) the worst place to be, an ostrich with your head in the sand.
If people are saying bad things about your business you really do want to know about it. If their complaints are legitimate then you should address them. If you don’t take action those real problems with your business could very likely get much worse.
If the complaints are not legitimate then you certainly do not want them to be the only thing that people searching on the web for info about your business to find.
You are listening
When you are listening to what people are saying about your business you have the ability to reach out to your fans and respond to your critics. This is where you want to be!
They aren’t saying anything about you
If no one is talking about your business at all, well, then you have a problem. When people are talking bad about you, at least they know you exist.
When I was in the Navy they called time in front of the Skipper “face time” and I had a roommate who used to say, “Negative face time is still face time.”
Talk about a positive attitude!
But Tommy had a point. At least if you are screwing up they knew who you were, which is at least a little better then when they don’t even know your name.
Tying it Together
I guess my point is, you may find yourself in a situation that someone is in effect “bullying” your business by saying unjustified critical things about you. The best way to deal with it is head on.
By paying attention to social media you have a much better chance to hear about it and address it before things get out of hand.