Social Media: Friend and Foe for Your Business?

While killing time waiting for an oil change, you decide to flip through today’s Twitter feed. You check your best friend’s last tweet and although they don’t mention you by name, you just know that they’re referring to a conversation you had with them the night before. It just burns you up inside that they had the nerve to post it so that all of their followers could read it. You call your friend and the two of you fight it out until he agrees to remove the tweet from his page.
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While killing time waiting for an oil change, you decide to flip through today’s Twitter feed. You check your best friend’s last tweet and although they don’t mention you by name, you just know that they’re referring to a conversation you had with them the night before. It just burns you up inside that they had the nerve to post it so that all of their followers could read it. You call your friend and the two of you fight it out until he agrees to remove the tweet from his page.

But what if it’s not that easy? What if it’s you in the “tweeting” seat and you have posted about someone that you don’t know well enough to work it out? What if you vented about a job you were working on earlier in the day and [gasp] that client saw it and knew you were talking about them?

How often do we tweet or post (whichever social media network strikes your fancy) about actual life experiences, including customer headaches? We write it like it’s just a general statement (and for most of your readers, it is), but the same as you knew your friend was writing about you, your customer will know you are writing about them.

The last thing a customer will want to see is a post of you complaining about them, their home, or their job to everyone online. You may believe that you are doing the right thing by omitting their name, but they will know it when they see it, and depending on what emotion it evokes, it can come back to bite you.

We all work so hard to build good relationships with clients, and when they join our social media “network” it should be viewed as a step in the right direction. They support your company enough to follow your progress and share it with their own friends and family. This, in turn, can generate future business. Or it can hurt it, depending on how we choose to utilize this powerful networking tool.

Knowing that our clients can view what we say and do online, we should be cautious about how we are representing ourselves to them. We should always put our professional foot forward, being positive and informative and never ever disrespecting our livelihood—our clients.

Social media can be one of the best customer service tools available to a business, but only if it’s used the right way.

As a business, we want our customers to be part of our social media network, because it shows that they support us and it helps our companies and industry expand into untapped markets. We want to utilize social media for all of its benefits, not for its childish capabilities. Our clients are the most important part of our business, and it can be just as hurtful for them to see negative things written about them as it is for us to see our best friend writing negative things about us.

Todd Anthony Puma is president of The Source Home Theater Installation in New York City.

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