You can’t DO Social Media

DISCLAIMER: I have absolutely no intention of joining the inane argument about which generation should be in charge of your Social Media community.  Statements like “No one over/under 25…” make me furious because it is so ridiculous to judge anyone based solely on their age.

However, like all of us older Social Media geeks, I have encountered the discussion in real life far too many times. Over the past 2 years I’ve had an ongoing ‘debate’ with a young man who started a ‘Social Media Management’ You can't DO Social Mediacompany; he once declared that ‘in 5 years there will be nothing BUT Social Media Marketing.’  I know, it’s another discussion not worth having because it is based on idiocy.  Very few companies can thrive with only ONE marketing tactic driving their sales.  TV, print, signage, email marketing… they’ll all change in the next 5 years.  Social Media will change too… but none of them are going away.

Just today I discovered that this same Social Media Management company did something that burns me, and should burn everyone else who ever reaches out to a Facebook Business Page for customer service:

They deleted a negative post.

Young and old friends – Never, Ever do this.  Not unless the post contains language that will offend your audience.

If someone takes time out of their day to reach out to your company for help, HELP them. The removed post wasn’t rude, it was simply requesting help after repeatedly calling and emailing.  Not only was it removed,  it wasn’t even RESPONDED TO.

This brings me back to one of my most persistent gripes about Social Media: It isn’t there for the DOING.  It is a tool. A Tactic. An incredible communication tool for small business.  Sure, people will complain.  And, just like in Real Life, every customer complaint is an opportunity for relationship building. If the complainant is so irrational that you cannot build a relationship with them, your patient, professional dialogue about their issue gives you the opportunity to build trust with the other people listening.

What has me so fired up about this type of ‘delete’ is that I know how very hard small businesses work to gain customers. I know that, especially in THIS economy, each one is so precious. Erasing any of them is criminal.  And I am convinced that this sort of reaction is what “doing Social Media” is. But that’s not good enough. You need to have a strategy, a plan… you need to nurture your online community.  You need to be there for the good and the bad.  You need to be prepared, in advance, for the bad and how you will react to it.

Here’s the myth debunked: Social Media is no different than real life customer relations.  Whatever you should do in a Real Life situation should be done in your Social Communities too.  Would you hang up on a disappointed customer, or would you try to resolve the issue professionally?  I think everyone knows the answer when they just stop and THINK about it.  Social Media, like the telegraph, phone, and email before it, is simply a new communication tool.  Don’t loose your marbles trying to ‘do’ it, and just ‘do’ good business.

  • Carlos Borberg

    Spot on! Always have a strategy and a plan, for anything you do, specially good business. Great post

  • Coming from a business background, I would like to point out that this goes against rule #1 of any form of media, do not directly attack competition. You are extremely low in taste and respect, and this blog post is nothing more than a form of idiocy in itself. You should really check your facts and learn some humility. You are talking from a place of authority with “years of experience”, yet you show very poor results and do stupid things like this.

    Personally, don’t be a poor loser in business, fight harder. From the looks of this, you are going to fail miserably. Let’s see if you actually even have dignity and keep up this complaint as you have directly posted above.

    I have several business associates in the West Florida area that have mentioned your name as a recommendation, and after they receive this information, I can guarantee that will stop very shortly.

    Have a nice day,

    • admin

      Thanks for visiting John… and just to clarify, the company I discussed is not competition because I do not run Social Media Management company, I run a Marketing Agency. I’m sorry you don’t like my honesty in the post, but I am glad that after such a short time in Florida my company is so well known already.

  • “Social Media is no different than real life customer relations.” Nailed it. Ignoring the problem never makes it go away. And clearly you are being the better person. I would have named the “social media management” company in this blog post.

  • Amy, I can feel you burning on the other side of my computer screen! Thanks for sharing all this.

    “Social” is the main part of “Social Media.” Some people will never get it because they don’t relate well to other people.

    You can’t make yourself the center of a conversation for very long. Others will start to tune out, and move on to better partners in conversation.

    • admin

      Thanks Barrett for visiting – I had a spam issue and just found your comment. Yes, I was burning when I wrote this because I am so tired of seeing social media disconnected from smart PR. I’m calm now:)

  • This pains me. That’s the worst thing you can do – both from customer service and PR perspectives. I don’t care if your client wants you to delete it. Our jobs are to counsel our clients on why this is a bad idea, not give in to their every whim.

    There are PLENTY of case studies online about crises created because Facebook posts or blogs comments have been deleted.