Whether in person or online, when people gather there will always be conflict. However, there are a few steps that a small business owner can take to circumvent the majority ill-intended remarks on their public social media profiles.
Monitor both personal and private Facebook accounts for unflattering commentary and damaging information.
Many people mistakenly believe that their personal and professional lives are not one and the same. In the digital age, this simply isn’t true. Small business owners must ensure that their private social media profiles do not contain any damning information such as affiliations with radical organizations are explicit comments regarding a competitor. A good example is a small bakery in the suburbs of Nashville whose owner, on her personal Facebook page (which was set to private), made a colorful remark about the area’s most predominant political party. Within hours, her business’ face the page was bombarded with angry past and current customers vowing never to return.
Avoid personal friend request from customers and competing businesses.
As a business owner, it’s vital to be friendly and courteous to customers. But, it’s far too easy for customers to mistake good service for a desire to extend friendship beyond business hours. Small business owners should be very wary about who they accept friendly invitations from – both on and off-line. Customers who mistakenly believe they are “in” with an establishment may begin to expect special treatment. When this does not come to fruition, it can be an ugly situation all the way around.
Post positive content often.
There are few things worse than constantly seeing negative remarks filtered into newsfeed. This is especially true for small business owners who need to relay a positive image for their product. Entrepreneurs should post positive content that relates directly or indirectly to their business or community often. A business with a positive and friendly tone online tends to encourage their customers to convey pleasantries as well. Sarcasm and humor that can only be understood through vocal inflection should be avoided online.
Immediately delete negative remarks from others.
There is almost no getting around that proverbial Debbie Downer in every crowd who will post a negative remark for amusement’s sake. Often, these people enjoy controversy and simply want to watch other people bicker. Business owners should monitor their Facebook pages often and delete negative content or forbid public commentary on their pages altogether.
Since Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites have become an integral part of most consumers’ lives, it is almost impossible to completely avoid drama and confrontation. However, with careful keyboard strokes and lots of optimism, a small business owner can continue to enjoy a positive online presence.