What Social Media?

What Social Media?

Recently I was talking with one of the owners at a favorite restaurant about Social Media.  She told me she does not pay attention to what people put on websites like Yelp and this concerned me a bit. So I inquired as to why she does not pay attention.  Her response was simply “There is nothing I can do about what people write”; but is this really true?

I have thought a lot about the conversation over the last few weeks, because to a point I do not agree.  As a former restaurant and retail manager any feedback from customers can improve processes and service.  There is an old adage that says if a person has a bad experience they will tell five people and those five people will tell another five people and so on.  On the flip side, if a delighted customer tells five people those people may not spread the good news; they may only tell one or two people. Chances are those one or two people will not tell others.

Now think about social media…if I have a bad experience at a store and I post it on Facebook then all of my friends will see the message.  Depending on the message, some of those friends may go on to share the note.  The same thing can be said about Twitter; what if the person who had the bad experience had 100,000 followers.  Once the message is out there it can’t be taken back; you never know how many people will re-post the message.

I agree you can’t control what people write but you can get people talking about you in a different manner.  Instead of putting blinders on to what people say you need to be part of the conversation.  Author Liana Evans wrote a great book called Social Media Marketing: Strategies for Engaging in Facebook, Twitter & Other Social Media where in Chapter 4 she talks about something she calls “Return on Conversation”.  The point of the discussion is companies need to be involved with social media: reading what is said, responding, re-posting, etc.

As an owner/manager you can talk to your customers about going out to Social Media sites and encourage them to write about their experiences.  If you happen to notice a bad experience, take action respond to an unhappy customer either by direct message or private message.   Find out what the problem was and fix it!  If it was slow service, find out when they were in the store and see if you happened to be short staffed…if so increase staffing.  If it was poor quality find out why and figure out a way to improve the quality; maybe you need to find a new vendor or maybe the staff needs to be retrained. Whatever the problem was you need to find a solution.