Sometimes in life, you just have to take a deep breath. Two years ago, we mixed a deep breath with a few tears when a customer posted a negative review on our Facebook page. They were tears of frustration because we felt we had done everything possible to make that customer happy, and it wasn’t enough for her. To add fuel to the fire, her boyfriend followed on with his own bad review.
As the owner of Space Shirts, I felt embarrassed and humiliated by that review because I felt powerless to counter it. I believed anything I said in response would sound self-serving. More than that, I knew the backstory and how far off that 2017 review was from the truth. So, I took deep breaths and squeezed back the tears. While my team and I took it personally, we decided to lie low. We hoped the reply to that negative review from one of the person’s own team members would speak on our behalf. Then, we let it lie. Two years later, it still hurts.
Like many small business owners, I am immersed in projects and client service every hour of every day. So, hopping on Facebook is not a habit for me. Now, I’m considering jumping into the fray—despite time constraints—because I am realizing more and more the added impact of social media on my business. I realize I missed an opportunity to engage with my Facebook followers. And, I now know social media engagement is not self-serving. It shows that we care.
Caring does come naturally for me, but caring via social media not so much. As a community member, and a Rotarian, I participate in many service events. Last week, I attended a Rotary Means Business meeting where two college students joined us from Rotaract, which is the college level of Rotary Club. Two service-minded students, Cody Dingee and Rose Warner, presented an insightful view to Social Media for Business. Their presentation included the significance of online reviews, in part because consumers do read reviews when considering a purchase. Those reviews, research shows, make a difference. Cody and Rose were emphatic about the importance of responding to reviews, whether positive or negative. I now know I should have responded to that old negative review myself, rather than let other reviews speak for me.
For 34 years, I have been the chief reputation manager at Space Shirts, and care deeply about our reputation. My team does, too! We work each day to differentiate our screen-printing, embroidery, retail shop, promotional products and online store through detailed attention to customer orders. We also invested deeply in the latest garment printing technologies to provide customers with cost-effective options and quick turnarounds. And, we recently added a Design-Your-Own platform to our website for Do-It-Yourself people and customers searching for design ideas.
Until now, we’ve always managed our reputation personally, through stellar service. Now, we’ll engage more on social media, in tune with the times.
In case you, like me, have not been maximizing your opportunities on social media, I’m happy to share what I learned at our Rotary Means Business meeting:
My advice? If you’re a business owner, take deep breaths as needed, but also take time to engage on social media by responding to all comments. Respond to any reviews that come your way, negative or positive. For added social-media leverage, per Cody and Rose, also use the check-in feature on Facebook to engage with your followers, and keep them abreast of your activities. These are organic ways to grow engagement, and more engagement will increase your ranking on search engines. Cool!