Skunking in Social Media?


skunk-smell-229x259    Skunking in Social Media…

Have you been seeing all the posts ranting about customers, co-workers, or even employees? Everything from ridiculing a customers special request to disparaging words about independent contractors and even event promoters “guilting” would be donors and participants. What does a skunk do? It sprays its’ stink without concern about where it lands.

What do these “skunking” posts really say about you? Frankly, they harm your company at a DNA level.  It tells everyone everything they need to know about you as a business owner and your business.  If you will ridicule or disparage a customer, donor, or employee it leaves the reader wondering if they will be next! And, who wants to be on the receiving end of skunking?

Case 1: A customer contacts you with a special request on your primary product. Is this an opportunity to experiment with an add value to your product? Is it a possible additional revenue stream? Or, is this an opportunity to point out the ignorance of your customer? How dare they ask for something special?

Case 2: Your fundraiser is falling short and you are worried about having enough participation. Is this an opportunity to do additional PR for your organization? Or, is this an opportunity to lay a guilt trip on would be donors or participants?

Case 3: You are seeking collaboration from colleagues to assist you in a large event you are staffing. The potential collaborator requests their company “get credit” for their contribution. Is this an opportunity to cross-promote company’s and build awareness for both businesses? Or, is this an opportunity to post the communication publicly and point out how ridiculous they are for wanting to maximize the exposure by helping you?

There are more examples but I think we get the picture. How you respond in these situations says way more about you and your business than you think? In Case 1, ridiculing the customer makes every other customer question whether or not you truly value their business. Even as a loyal customer, it begs the question “will that happen to me?”

In Case 2, the poster clearly wants to motivate participation but has the opposite effect. People want to align themselves with something successful and purposeful. Posting negatives only persuades the potential participant to keep looking for a cause to support.

In Case 3, small businesses often need to collaborate on larger projects in order to grow their business. It is reasonable for collaborators to want to promote and look out for their budding business. The risk? Alienating potential collaborators can have unintended consequences, one of which is that those collaborators will move on without you.

There is an adage… “Be careful who you kick on the way up, for you will surely meet them on the way down”. Regardless of if the post is on your personal page or business page; whether customer, potential collaborator, employee, or just an innocent bystander ask yourself this one question, “Is this post going to place my business in the best possible light?”

If the answer is “yes”, then by all means post it. If the answer is “no”…. It’s time to rethink how you want your brand to remembered.

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