The internet, and social media in particular, has turned into a big oxymoron for anyone involved in business. On one hand, there has never been an easier way and time to grow or promote a business. On the other, months or years of good work can be quickly wiped away by one post or email. For as easy as it is to have a business take off and spread like wildfire, it can also be taken away just as easily. Having said that, you need to be mindful of every email, text and post you make to everyone you come in contact with. This holds true for every aspect of your business as well, even direct mail campaigns and other forms of marketing. One moment of weakness can change the way people perceive your business forever.
However you feel about social media and the increased use of technology, you need to acknowledge that it is not going anywhere. People in business now get their news from what they may see on social media. If you want a review of a restaurant, contractor or bicycle shop, your first stop is most likely Facebook, followed by a Google search. All it takes is a few negative comments from some disgruntled customers who may feel like there were wronged to change the opinion of even a few people down the line. For the most part, these things are out of your control. The items you can control, like emails and posts, are the ones you need to focus on.
We have all seen how quickly things can spread online. An email to a boss or a video of a work colleague can easily gain a million views or become a trending topic for the day. A contractor may have stiffed you or not fulfilled their work responsibilities, but before you write that scathing email or leave a nasty voice mail, you should remember that people will often make snap judgments and not wait for the full story. All they may see is your name associated with a ranting, aggressive voice mail and their opinion is already formed. The same goes for anything you post on social media. You can have your opinions on anything, but if you make them public, they are there for everyone to see.
If you make a comment to someone on Facebook with 300 friends, you now have 300 people that may take objection and form an opinion of you. Now, take that 300 and think about if even half of those people share the post you commented on. In a local area, word will travel pretty quickly and just like that you can gain a reputation that you may not want to have. People are very vindictive, so it is not out of the question that something you send to someone else in business could be make public without you even knowing. It is important to remember this the next time someone does you wrong or before you are ready to go off on someone.
Think before you hit send and think before you make a call. There are many other, better ways to get things off your chest. All it takes is one click to ruin your business.