“What if someone posts something bad on social media about my company?”

I recently read an article about the revolutionary driverless cars. These futuristic models reject the help of drivers and, well, they basically drive themselves. Crazy, right??

Sometimes I question whether technology will ever slow down but am convinced that the answer is “no, no it will not.”

The same can be said for social media. Of course, there are some social media platforms that fail to stand the test of time (heard of Diaspora?), but the likes of Facebook and Instagram are constantly undergoing development. This alone suggests that there’s a lot more to come from the digital world!

This 3 part series, titled ‘What if?’, will be inspired by conversations I have with business owners who have questions as they journey into the unknown.

So to kick things off, last week I had a Skype call with a lady based in China who had one major concern about social media: “What if someone posts something bad about my company??”

Now this is not the first time I have heard this somewhat anxious statement being expressed and it surely will not be the last.

Concerns such as these are completely understandable; after all, no one wants their business to come under public scrutiny due to an angry customer complaint.

I have three responses for this type of questioner:

1) A brand could have surpassed its 100th year anniversary. They could also have invested thousands of pounds into employee training and purchased the most swanky quality management programme.

They could have implemented just about everything to perfect their user experience; but alas, there may be one customer (just the one) who is unsatisfied with the product or customer service they receive. This same customer may just so happen to think social media is the appropriate platform to vocalise their displeasure.

It happens. As long as you are in business, there will always be a chance you do not meet someone’s expectations, and as unfortunate as that is, it should not determine how and where you market your brand.

2) The great thing about social media is that it enables two-way conversation, just like in real life! This means that customers have the right to share their opinion and you do too!

Now, obviously you should always present your company in the best light possible, so be sure to remain calm, cool and collected whenever replying, but make sure you respond to all customer feedback, including the negative.

Of course, use discrepancy and take conversations offline where necessary, but reply in the first instance to redeem your company from any form of slander.

Hey, you never know, if you handle the situation correctly, what may have started out as an ‘oh no!’ moment could actually turn out as good PR for you (think JetBlue’s Twitter response).

3) Lastly, yes being on social media does come with risks, but think about it….if people can post negative comments, surely that means that customers can also sing your praises! One positive comment from a customer can spread to millions – something that is difficult when dealing only face-to-face with people.

If you use social media, it is inevitable that you will be exposed to its good, bad and ugly traits. However, if you’ve been a passenger on the social media hype long enough, I am sure you’ll agree when I say the good tends to outweigh the bad!

Here are some great examples of brands that use social media as a successful customer service tool.

Blog post written by Success Marketing’s Marketing Director, Gabriella Emmanuel 

Originally posted on LinkedIn