The Negative Effect of Social Media

One bad tweet on Twitter or a negative comment on Facebook can lose your business up to thirty customers, a survey by Convergys Corp revealed.

Typically, a negative review by a customer on one of these major social media sites reaches forty-five people. Of these, thirty people will not purchase anything from a company they’ve heard bad things about.

So what does this mean for your business?

Complaints Made Easy

Social media has clearly become a major outlet for customer dissatisfaction and complaints. Not everyone will take up an issue with a company directly. It’s a personality thing, I guess, a confidence thing. Not everyone has it in them to complain face-to-face.

Whilst those that have never had a problem complaining in person will continue to do so, the big shift we’re seeing with the rise of social media is that channels like Facebook and Twitter, as well as blogs and YouTube, have given those that otherwise would have remained silent a powerful way to have a voice.

It’s just getting so easy to voice our dissatisfaction with a tweet or status update.

Particularly as more and more of us are getting iPhones and Androids that allow us constant access to the Net. Here in Sweden, 50,000 iphones are sold a month. And we’re a country of 9 million.

Whereas before if the waitress in your local coffee shop was surly and served you a cappuccino that resembled dish water more than coffee you would just avoid the place again, nowadays you can tweet your comments from the table as you attempt to drink it.

The Best Strategy: Monitor, Respond, Repeat

The only solution from a business point of view is that you’re going to have to develop your monitoring skills.

It’s becoming crucial to know when someone says something bad about you or your services.

HootSuite or Twitter Search are great for small businesses looking to keep track of their brand on Twitter; Radian6 is awesome, but its entry price pushes it more towards larger corporations.

No matter what tool you choose to use to monitor your brand on social media channels, they require time and effort to use. Small businesses don’t necessarily have the resources to invest because the perceived ROI isn’t particularly great.

You still shouldn’t underestimate the ability of negative comments on social media to affect customer behaviour.

If you lose 45 potential customers, that may well hit your bottom line.

If your company’s reputation is damaged in the minds of 45 people per tweet, that’s something to be concerned by.

Without a proactive strategy in place, you’re company is at risk.

Take Action – Now

Who in your company is monitoring those negative tweets?

Who is listening to what’s being said about you on Facebook?

Who has been trained to respond so it doesn’t turn into an online firestorm that rains even more havoc on your business ?

If you don’t know the answer to these questions, you probably ought to; the results of the Convergys’ survey suggests that each negative tweet has potentially serious repercussions for your business. If that’s the case, you should be responding, putting your side of the story out there, neutralizing the threat.

Social Media” by Flickr user Jason Howie is licensed under CC-BY-SA 2.0.