Using social media such as Facebook for business and non-profit organizations can be a trap of sorts. You want to interact with customers and prospects — but unlike paid media, messages and responses are more difficult to manage. CEOs are concerned that a nasty rumor will be planted by a competitor or an anti-corporate activist and spread a damaging lie about a company.
Their fears are not without foundation. Look at what Taco Bell just went through. Rumors that their meat was not real meat at all but some sort of chemical substitute surfaced and spread like wildfire.
Taco Bell gave an appropriate response. They told the TRUTH. Most of their beef products are 88% USDA-inspected beef, the rest is water and filler.
Sales were not hurt a bit —in fact, they may have even increased. That may be in part to the fact that Americans love Taco Bell, but it’s also a testament to the power of a quick response and being truthful.
LET TRUTH BE YOUR DEFAULT ANSWER
I hate the word “spin.” It’s just another word for misleading or distracting talk. If you have a good produce or service, you don’t need spin.
You do need a PR or marketing professional to point out the benefits of your product or service that are the ones you should focus on.
When a tough question is asked, let TRUTH be your default answer. If you are not 100% sure of the answer, say so. And promise a full response quickly.
For example, you can say “That’s a good and reasonable question and it deserves a full response. Let me confirm the details and get back to you later today with a complete answer. I will check with my (IT, manufacturing head, whatever) and respond ASAP. Thanks for your patience.”
HATERS, OBSCENE REMARKS, ETC.
There are individuals in life who have nothing better to do than make nasty remarks. Often obscene comments appear on corporate social media sites. Make it clear in your information profile that such remarks will not be left up after a post. Then DELETE the post. Simple.
Replying more than twice on the same issue to the same posting customer with a problem is not a good idea. Instead ask them to call you or offer to call them to discuss the problem and nip it in the bud. Debating an issue is rarely done well in print on social media sites.
You can give helpful hints on Facebook and Twitter and group message boards, but when customers start asking about detailed specifications and directions, again its time to initiate a phone conversation.
AVOID THE TRAPS
Tell the truth, delete haters and obscene comments and encourage a phone conversation with debaters or people who have detailed questions.
You can accomplish a lot with social media. But be smart about it.
Stay tuned and Stay Smart.
Questions or comments? Write to firstname.lastname@example.org