Facebook and Instagram and Twitter, oh my!
Social media platforms are the wild animals of the internet. They’re here to stay, so learning to live in harmony is essential to survival because they can turn on you in an instance.
Is social media the ultimate necessary evil?
Pete Knott, a digital consultant at reputation management consultancy Lansons, says, “Social media is the most immediate threat to your company’s reputation.”
Therefore, it must be taken seriously.
Social media is an excellent way to advertise, gain exposure, increase sales, and build brand awareness, but it also leaves you vulnerable.
So, at the end of the day, is social media bad for your business?
This blog explores the pros & cons (and facts) about social media and what it means for your event business! Plus, I threw in a real-life “it could happen to you” story!
But first, let’s talk about how much control you truly have over your own accounts.
Who’s really in Control?
If things like followers, algorithms, engagement, comments, DM’s, and likes (or lack thereof) keep you up at night, you are not alone.
It can make you feel like you’re not in control, right? Maybe that’s because you aren’t. At least not as much as you’d like.
You have way less control over your accounts than you might think.
- Content is monitored by the platform robots
- Your posts can be reported – whether it is legitimate or not
- Algorithms work against you
- New privacy acts make it harder to advertise
- You are competing in a WAY larger market than ever before
- Your page can be deleted by the powers that be, and everything can be lost
- Too many people rely solely on social media and not on traditional marketing
- Even boosting gets you almost nowhere due to ever-changing algorithms
- Social media is unique for the possibility of impersonation
Speaking about having less control than you’d like…
It Could Happen to You (true story)
Years of content, contacts, and community engagement are lost. You are forced to start from scratch, making you look like a newbie to outsiders — despite years of work.
And what if you were relying on Instagram for your contacts, promos, marketing, and advertising?
The results would be devastating.
This happened to me simply because I hired someone to take over our social media posts, and I’m still trying to get our account back despite doing everything Instagram has requested.
We’ve all heard the term “don’t put all your eggs in one basket” and this is the perfect example of why.
It’s important to gather the contact information of clients and prospects, keeping them in a Customer Relation Management (CRM) system. Not only does this help you track and manage your clients (increasing sales), but it also allows you to reach out once you have another account set up!
Even if you never lose your account, or you are able to get it back, there are still risks to social media — like “trolls” and “haters.”
Social Media Rewards Bad Behaviour
What happens when a customer decides to share their negative feelings about you all over social media?
There are so many opportunities for them to do this, whether it’s through their own account(s) or through your business page’s comment section, feed, tags, or reviews.
Jef Wilson wrote an article entitled “Social Media is Creating Bad Customers” where he warns that social media can create “bad customers” because it builds a guilt-free, relatively anonymous environment with no accountability.
But does the fact that it can create bad customers mean that it’s bad for your event business?
Some say that any publicity is good publicity, right?
Do the “trolls” and “haters” give you the opportunity to be better, allowing you to use the bad behavior to your advantage?
For example, can it help you identify issues and improve on your services?
Can it help you prove to the world that you deal with issues head-on, and work tirelessly to resolve them?
While we all hate rewarding bad behavior, learning to deal with it is a skill we all need to have in order to survive online.
An article from Forbes argues that, while this risk for bad behavior can potentially have a negative impact on your business, not using social media is more damaging.
It is important to be proactive and have a social strategy in place that allows you to minimize negative situations, and if and when they do occur, the best practices are to react swiftly and methodically.
Top 10 Ways to Deal with Negative Comments
- Don’t ignore them (or disable comments)
- Apologize, and mean it
- Analyze the situation before offering a solution
- Remain calm and kind
- Publically ask them to email, call, or DM you
- Make it personal and show empathy
- Reply instantly, even if you don’t have the solution
- Explain what you will do to resolve the issue
- Learn from the experience and fix any mistakes
- Find a way to get more positive comments to outweigh the bad ones
Customers have learned that complaining is the fastest way to get a response. More often than not, this happens when a company has made itself inaccessible.
Offering robust customer service through all of your social channels increases the chances of an issue being dealt with privately before it goes public.
Make your phone number, email, chat, and DM’s accessible, and set alerts to get notified.
If a customer feels like you are easy to reach, they are more likely to contact you before smearing your name online.
Having a strategy in place allows us to move from taking a risk to taking a calculated risk.
So, What Now?
If social media is bad for your business, should you continue? Is it worth the calculated risk?
To really answer this question, it’s important to know the facts and figures, and then develop a strategy that works for your business.
Facts & Figures
- Over 3.6 billion people use social media and the number is projected to increase to 4.41 billion in 2025
- The average daily usage is 2 hours and 27 minutes
- 81% of people use social media to research goods and services before buying
- Ad Week claims that almost 9 in 10 companies use social media
- According to Hootsuite, 1.3 million new users joined social media every day in 2020
If we go by the facts and figures, it becomes apparent that social media matters.
Even if it frustrates us!
But don’t fret, there are ways to make it easier on yourself.
Tips & Tricks
- If social media is having a negative impact on your mental health, outsource it
- Don’t just rely on social media, utilize other marketing & advertising methods
- Use social media to direct people to your website, blog, and YouTube channel
- Gather and store the client contact information in a CRM system
- Use reputation management software to find, track, and respond to negative (and positive) comments and feedback
- When necessary, have employees sign NDA’s so they think twice before leaking confidential information online
- Develop policies that make employees feel involved with social while monitoring it to ensure you control the narrative
It may seem like a lot of work upfront to protect your online presence, but it’s worth the effort in the long run. Thinking ahead, and developing a plan, could save you from a lot of headaches and potentially devastating results.
So, with all the hassle, why bother with social media?
Because the facts and figures speak for themselves.
It’s not so much a question of if you should use social media, as much as it’s about how you should use social media.
Having a strong social strategy is key. Not only does this help you develop, achieve and measure success, but it also gives you a playbook for how you deal with (potentially) negative situations.
Luckily, with these tips, you can approach your social media strategy from a place of empowerment and establish a plan that doesn’t just fill a hole but gives you results too.
What’s your opinion on social media?
Do you love it or hate it, or fall somewhere in-between?
Please share your thoughts, tips, and comments below.
To help you feel less frustrated or if you need some extra inspiration, grab 14 free social media content suggestions here.