It is easy for emotions to run high about specific topics, but it is very important for a business using social media to keep a firm grasp on their main marketing goals. If you make a post on Facebook or send a tweet on Twitter that is seen as negative by your followers, then you can quickly damage your company’s credibility. Even if someone leaves a negative comment on your Facebook wall and you are simply trying to respond to it, you need to keep the intent of your message in mind, and be careful of how your tone might be perceived.
Some businesses will get involved in social whistle blowing about other similar companies. It is vital to remember that the vast majority of your customers expect you to utilize a positive, upbeat approach about your industry. It is considered by most people to be extremely unprofessional to speak negatively about a competitor. Keep in mind that you are running a business not a political campaign, and you should focus on your company instead of someone else’s.
If you come across some damaging information about one of your competitors, then you might be tempted to leak it to WikiLeaks. Even if this action is never traced back to you, it is still the wrong thing to do. Taking the high road is important, not only for your own personal comfort and satisfaction but also so that nothing ever comes back to haunt you.
In the heat of the moment, it is definitely possible to say things that you do not mean. Unfortunately, there is no way to truly erase the impact of saying something negative or nasty on the Internet. Even if your comment or post is only visible for a few moments, it will impact your overall customer engagement. You can also be virtually guaranteed that someone will have made a screenshot of your negative comment in order to make it go viral.
If you make a mistake, you can apologize, but you cannot expect everyone to forgive you. You also cannot expect all of the people who saw your original statement to see your apology. It is much safer to simply step away from your computer or handheld device for a moment if you feel yourself becoming angry or tempted to spread gossip or bad news about another company.
In some instances, you may feel that you are in the right to share a specific story. Before you do so, you must take extra steps to verify your sources. If you are determined to post information that you can be seen as controversial or damaging to another person or business, then it is imperative to provide links that verify your story.
In the end, it is almost never a good idea to say something negative via one of your social media accounts. The backlash is likely to be difficult to contain, and the damage that your overall brand name suffers can be astronomical. It is much better to preserve your own good reputation than it is to try to damage someone else’s.