How To Avoid Getting Attacked By Your Customers On Facebook

It’s something that a lot of companies (rightly) worry that when they set up a Facebook page.  You’re out there in the open and anyone can “like” your page and post whatever they want.  In the olden days, if  customers had a problem, they might email or call you to complain.  If 20 customers had the same complaint you would get 20 calls.  Still, it was a private matter between you and the customers.

On the internet, a customer who complains is complaining publicly.  If your product doesn’t hold up well to everyday use; if you have a lot of unhappy employees; if you have been promoting your company as green but polluting the town’s lake-you might find yourself the victim of a public thrashing.  If you have problems like these, you’ll probably end up being a deer in the headlights when your page goes public. The only way to deal with these kinds of issues is to change, apologize, and hope for the best.  There really is no place to hide.

What about the trolls who don’t have a reasonable complaint?  For example, I’ve seen companies get criticized for supporting a legitimate, respected  charity that one or two consumers did not like.  If your business is acting in good faith and you have loyal fans, the best thing to do in a case like this is to let your supporters defend you-and they almost always do.

One of the great things about Facebook, and about social media and the real time web is that you get instantaneous feedback.  If you post something on Facebook that  rubs your customers the wrong way, you’ll know it within a few minutes.  Learn from those reactions.  Before social media, and especially before Facebook, your customers were literally a faceless mob that you knew only by their demographics, if you had that much information, by or their ordering history.

Now that you have the instant feedback mechanism of Facebook, you get to hear their voices.  There is content in those messages. There is tone in those messages. Listen and learn.  You may make the mistake of offering a half-hearted special once or talking about a political issue that they don’t want to hear about once, but hopefully, you won’t do it more often than that.

With Facebook, you are relating to your fans on a whole new level.  Just like real life relationships they are risky and they can get messy.  That’s o.k.  You’ll learn.

Oh, and if you are a  company that is hypocritical, produces shoddy products, or is sleezy in any way, don’t use Facebook.  You may get called out in other forums, but on Facebook, you’ll just be asking for it.

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