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Roedel Parsons Blache Fontana Balhoff & McCollister, A Law Corporation

Make no mistake: social media is important to your business

Starting a business requires you to look at numerous issues. One of them is how to get your business out there for potential consumers to see. Social media can provide you with free advertising and a way to reach your customer base.

On the other hand, it also provides a platform for consumers to recommend or complain about your goods or services. With so many people here in Louisiana and across the country shopping online these days, many use social media to interact with businesses and other consumers.

Some basics

If you have any doubt that social media can be a powerful tool for your business when it comes to interacting with your target market, consider the following:

  • Around 71 percent of consumers will recommend a company to their contacts on social media when they have a good experience with it.
  • Around 90 percent of consumers interact with companies online and through social media.
  • The Better Business Bureau (BBB) received approximately 35,000 complaints about businesses through social media in 2017.
  • Of every three people who have an issue with a company, only one will file a complaint with it or some other third party.
  • Most people find it easier to complain over social media and may even tag agencies such as Consumer Reports, the BBB or the Federal Communications Commission.

As you can see, social media plays a large role in reaching consumers and resolving their concerns.

Some tips

Your business's presence on social media may be useful in bringing you customers, but it could also bring you complainers. The following tips may help you turn a potentially negative situation into a positive one:

  • No one gets 100 percent positive feedback on social media. Don't delete negative comments, but instead treat them as a way to show how you deal with your customers' issues.
  • Honesty always makes the best policy. Let someone with an issue know that you will address his or her concerns, but it will take some time.
  • If your company is to blame, be sure to say so. Consumers appreciate honesty, and your company could actually score more points if you acknowledge the mistake, pledge to look into it and find a solution that satisfies the individual consumer and anyone who reads the comments.
  • When you see a complaint, address it in a timely manner, since waiting could only make matters worse. You should personalize your comments to the customer.
  • Do not use cookie cutter responses. You can tell when someone is sending you a generic response, and it probably irritates you, so you need to give your customers the courtesy of a personal response.

If you follow these tips, you may not only gain a reputation for resolving issues in a timely and satisfactory manner, but also for following through on your guarantees. It may be worthwhile to take some time to be sure that your legal rights remain protected and that you do not make promises that you cannot keep. Any situations that you cannot resolve peacefully through social media, in person or in some other manner could require legal assistance. 

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