The internet gives everyone a voice, and that’s a beautiful thing. However, the things people say online can actually have a bigger impact than they think. When an unhappy customer goes online and leaves a bad review of a business, other customers take it to heart and the company looses business– maybe just a little at first, but when companies start to develop a bad reputation online, it can spread and grow in the blink of an eye.
Luckily there are ways that businesses can help prevent that.
Creating a good online presence
Everyone wants to have a strong online presence, especially businesses. Building a following is one thing, but getting the most out of that attention is another. Here are five ways that businesses big and small can use social media sites to create a better relationship with their customers and avoid bad PR:
- When Social Media Becomes Free Advertising: A successful online marketing team promotes the business in a positive light and uses the social media accounts as ways to keep customers engaged and expand the company’s reach. Getting people to talk about the company on their own pages is even more advertising for that business, and anything a business can do to encourage that is worth pursuing. For example, Taco Bell recently sent letters and gifts to models with large online followings, and, lo and behold, the recipients posted pictures of the gifts on twitter and instagram. Just a simple, yet clever, marketing gimmick got millions of users to see Taco Bell in a positive light online.
- Prevent Rumors and a Bad Reputation: By monitoring what people say about a company on social media sites, the company can quickly dispel rumors at the source and help try to right wrongs with unsatisfied customers. Everyone makes mistakes, even companies, and when an unhappy customer goes online and starts complaining about a business it looks better if that business tries to fix the problem rather than ignoring the complaints. Employees can keep track of their interactions with customers online, whether on social media sites, comments, or emails, with easy to use organization software.
- Always be Positive and Professional: There’s a difference between being approachable and speaking to a specific audience (a good thing to do online) and being offensive and unprofessional. Businesses should promote themselves, their partners, and other people in their particular field– not trash their rivals.
- Find a Voice and the Audience to Go With It: Building an online presence is all about standing out among the crowd. A business that has a unique voice, a new perspective, and the quality products and services to back it up will quickly find their audience online. Interacting with customers and encouraging followers to respond to the content the business posts makes that company more of a person. Customers would rather buy from a company that they feel they have a relationship with, one that’s approachable and engaging, rather than some faceless corporation. People can tell when businesses are being genuine or phony online. The best online marketing members are actually excited about the business and the industry it belongs to.
- “The Customer’s Always Right”: When it comes with businesses interacting with customers, the old saying “the customer’s always right” can actually be a handy tool for the business. Even if a customer unsatisfied and saying bad things about the company, the business shouldn’t retaliate with even more negativity, hostility, or defensiveness. Having a good image online means apologizing for mistakes from time to time and being courteous.
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“Customer Relations” image courtesy of Shutterstock.