Social media brings people together. More importantly, from a marketing point of view, it brings businesses and individuals together. Whenever we talk about benefits of social media engagement for businesses, we talk about your ability to talk directly to your market.
Social media lets you monitor conversations about your brand online and it lets you get involved too. The opportunities for growing your business, both in awareness and actual sales, through social media engagement are huge. If you use the benefits of social media correctly, you can create a great online presence at a relatively low cost.
The Benefits of Social Media Can Turn on You
That’s the sales pitch, the list of the benefits of social media that focuses on the opportunities it offers. But there is a downside to social media presence. Once you open up the lines of communication with your market, you leave yourself open to negative comments as well as positive. Because social media has become an important part of modern life, people will equate your Facebook page, or Twitter feed, to your customer service. As anyone who has worked in customer service will tell you, most people see ‘customer service’ as a euphemism for ‘complaints department’.
If a complaint is made directly on your Facebook page, another of the benefits of social media can turn against you. Whenever someone likes your page, post or status update; your name is passed around to all of their friends. This is great for building brand awareness, but not so good if the mention is negative.
Especially if the complaint gains support, and support is easy to find on social media. All it takes is a few likes within the right social groups and all of a sudden your brand’s name is being dragged through the mud all over the Internet. It’s become a bit of a trend, especially in Ireland, for people to make long, detailed complaints through Facebook that get picked up and earn hundreds, if not thousands, of likes and comments.
In most cases these complaints gain a bit of notoriety until the company steps in and contacts the person complaining to sort it out. A lot of the time, we never actually find out how it was resolved, the comments just disappear. From a brand awareness point of view, that usually happens too late. Once someone has seen one of these complaints, they can’t unsee it.
The Business Benefits of Social Media can be Individual Drawbacks
So when a complaint is made on Facebook, only the complainer benefits? Well, not really.
In a lot of cases, they’ll get their complaint resolved, but it may not be worth the trouble. When you post something online, you open yourself up to criticism. Even if you’re just complaining about your own experience, people can find a reason to criticize. The benefits of social media for business, the ability to get feedback on your business, are drawbacks for the individual.
Some people will criticize because they disagree, others will be unhappy that they’ve had your story appear in their newsfeed. Mostly though, people will criticize because they can. Whenever you post anything online, you need to consider the possibility that people will disagree with you.
It’s become a trend for people to vent their disappointment over many things on social media. This can lead to complaints being resolved in a way that wasn’t possible through traditional customer service. But there is also potential for the experience to be turned on the complainer, even if their issue is totally valid.
There are many benefits of social media engagement for both businesses and individuals. But with complaints, it’s hard to see who benefits.
Have you taken the time to really get to know social media? There is so much more to it than just creating a profile, adding some photos, and updating your page every so often. Discover the benefits of social media, connect with your customers, engage with prospects, promote your products and services and market your brand. Click here to download our guide on getting to know social media.