There are a bazillion posts out there about the many reasons why businesses are/need to be using social media as a marketing platform… In our industry, marketing AND recruiting platform (a little redundant of me considering these two things go hand in hand). It seems though, many businesses fear the “social platform”. As a recruiter, manager and a person who strives to move our industry forward I think that it is important that we dissect our fears and move beyond them. No one ever changed the game by doing things the way “they’ve always been done.”
I recently traveled to our corporate office to give a quick overview of how my office has utilized social recruiting and to brainstorm with a few members on improving our website and other social avenues. The question that every single one of them asked me was in reference to negative comments/feedback. “Can they say something bad about us?” “Can we delete it?” so on and so forth… YES they can say something bad about us, but what are they going to say? YES we can delete it, but why would we? By the way, I have had the “social media fears” conversation with several other businesses as well so I’m inclined to believe that this is a fear for many businesses. Before I explain my response to these questions I do want to shout this out for everyone to hear loud and clear: NO ONE AND LET ME REPEAT, NO ONE, HAS MASTERED THE USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA IN THE BUSINESS WORLD. Right now we are playing games of trial and error and sharing our experiences with others and learning how to track ROI, etc., but none of us have it 100% right yet. If you think you do I’m eager for you to teach us, all of us!
Ok-everyone still with me? It is important that you do not delete the negative comments, but respond to them. I do have an exception to this rule and so far its my only exception; when someone uses bad language. I choose to stand firm in the allowance of deleting these comments because I don’t want to subject our audience to these words. Outside of deleting those comments, if we deleted negative comments we would just be telling the world we live in a fantasy land-one where we don’t believe we ever do anything wrong. I’ve learned that the audience we cater to is going to be far more forgiving if we acknowledge our mistakes and improve than if we pretend they do not exist. I use the negative comments and feedback to publicly address issues and to make my staff aware of our shortcomings. If someone has a bad experience with us I want to know about it. I know we cannot please everyone, but we can please the majority and we can make sure our mission is clear to everyone. By letting my staff know when someone publicly tells us they had a bad experience it holds them accountable and is a reminder to not let anyone slip through the cracks. People will talk about us, good and bad. And please believe they will talk about us and our company whether we have an online presence or not-at least if we have an online presence we have an opportunity to defend ourselves.
The second most common question I get “Doesn’t this make us too vulnerable to our competitors?” NO! We have to stop “hiding” from our competitors. We have to take the risk that we are good enough at our job that we will win out over our competitors. If we hide from them we could very well be hiding from potential consumers. In our line of work we have a lot of competition and I absolutely love that! I am naturally a very competitive person and I believe you cannot be the best until you compete with the best out there and win. “Publishing” our customer list is a scary thought and typically unheard of in our industry (in our area anyway), but my thoughts are this: I know who my competition services and they most likely know who I service… If I’m telling people who I service without reservation it is because I know we have established a relationship with that client that leads me to believe they aren’t going to leave us for the next company. What I am getting at is the ones my competitor should be interested in going after are the ones I won’t openly tell. I’m probably playing them close to the chest for a reason, eh? When we use social media for a marketing/recruiting platform it is putting all of our information out there, it is becoming transparent so not only is it a risk, but a motivating factor to bring your A game to the table every single day, because we can’t afford not to.
This is a topic that I could currently go on and on and on and on about, so I will! The rest of this week I will post some examples of how we handled some of the negative comments, being transparent to our competitors and how social media has grown our business for the better so stay tuned! I’m also eager to hear other examples from you- so please, do tell!