It is unwise to avoid social media for fear of criticism

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About Milind Mody

Milind is the founder - CEO of eBrandz, a professional SEO company in New York & India. Milind has been featured in various IT related magazines like Digit (Nov 2005) and BenefIT (Sep 2007). Milind also writes articles on Search Marketing in Popular Magazines like "Search Marketing Standard".

Many businesses are still averse to engaging with their both existing and prospective customers on an array of networking sites and similar such forums, without realizing that they are putting themselves at a major disadvantage.

Let us study the response of a huge hospitality chain that raised a similar concern, and how its lack of awareness about the prospective digital backlash cost it dear.

In a case study, a random Google search was carried about weddings held at the biggest hotels in its area of operation. Happily enough, the search revealed some wonderful pictures posted about the hospitality chain online. But it also threw some troubling links on wedding-related blogs and customer review sites from certain disgruntled customers who went on at great length about the problems they had with their receptions at this very hotel.

Obviously, there was no response from the management simply because it wasn’t aware of the feedback. It had no social media policy in place. What kind of impact do you think their comments must have had on those looking for a place to have their wedding?

In this instance, the hospitality chain clearly missed its chance to redeem itself since it had not been monitoring mentions of its brand online. Had it done so, it well could have responded to the complaints to make customers realize how it was proactive about handling their complaints.

The company apparently avoided social for the fear of criticism, which only proved to be counterproductive.

Learn to deal with negative feedback

Now you know, why it is not such a wise to stay away from social media, fearing criticism.  Here are the three things to keep in mind when using the networking platforms for customer interaction: 

1.  Remember, negative feedback will exist in every business and domain. Keenly look forward to all kind of customer feedback, to convey an impression that you are genuinely interested in listening to them. 

2. If you deal with the customer reactions graciously, they will not only appreciate your response, but also continue to find you reliable and trustworthy. 

3.  If you can engage your customers on a consistent basis, your online presence will translate into greater brand awareness, enhanced loyalty and, ultimately, increased sales.

Through your interactions, the brand you are associated with will leave behind a unique online footprint. The positive or negative trail that you create is bound to affect future relationships, or impact your business credibility.