Used and Abused by Social Media

By Alec C. Tefertiller

I am always a bit surprised when I find a business who is hesitant to embrace social media and search engine marketing, though I know I shouldn’t be. The internet is a global megaphone. Thinks whispered in the corner of chat room can quickly become the topic of international conversation. It does not surprise me that given the ability to easily defame a business online has made business owners hesitant to embrace the online culture.

The old way of marketing gave the marketer complete control. A small business could print flyers, mail postcards, pass out t-shirts, and even do a radio and tv spot in which they had complete control over how their information was presented. For them, the Yelps and Facebooks of the world, which a promote a completely organic approach to interaction, present a complete lack of control. If anyone can say anything, how do they manage their image? So the response is to limit the interaction. They delete the facebook pages and request their profile be removed from Yelp. They do whatever they can to make sure their name is not associated with any online conversations.

The problem with this is two-fold:
1. A private approach to web marketing is like overusing antibiotics. You kill the bad, but you kill the good as well.
2. It’s impossible to completely regulate every online conversation out there. It’s a fools errand.

Which brings me to the super-bold letter point for all business owners:

Someone is going to run your social media marketing campaign. Shouldn’t it be you?

Someone is going to give you an online presence. If they hate you — I mean they had a really bad time — they are going to spread the hate. And hate can spread like wildfire if unchecked. Yes, people are going to say bad things, but that’s a chance to make lemonade! Wouldn’t it be great for you to have an active email list you can mobilize to send good reviews and spread good will when a bad review pops up on Yelp? How awesome will it be for future customers to see a quick response from you to a complaint posted on Facebook?

My approach to social media is like my approach to gardening: organic. You can use fungicides and pesticides, but they’re going to kill the good pets along with the bad. You get healthier crops if you encourage the good pests, because the good pests kill the bad pests. You may have a bad tomato every now and then, but if that means the majority of your crops are big and healthy, it’s worth it.

It’s how you respond to the mistakes that makes you a good establishment. Embrace the bad news. You won’t be able to stifle it. No matter how hard you try, you are going to have an online presence. Now whether or not it’s a positive is up to you.

How does this relate to video? What better way to show off your business and your personality than through video clips. It’s the ultimate proactive approach to your online presence. Answer questions as they arise, and even beforehand. Complaints about your business? Use video to show the positive steps you’ve taken to deal with difficult situations, or to show how it wasn’t an issue to begin with. Show off your customers. And give your customers a face — your face — that shows them your business is much more than a slogan printed on a post card.


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