Last week I observed an interesting exchange on a contact’s Facebook page. It became quite an argument with some fairly ugly and controversial opinions being expressed. I read the thread not only for the comments and their content, but from a business perspective.
The thread was one of many that we see shared on our various social media platforms, all day, every day. It was a combination of various opinions being shared and discussed, all originating from a fairly innocuous original post. What interested me was the way that an opinion being expressed by a business owner can be twisted into something else altogether, and the negative impact that can have on their business, their reputation and ultimately their financial bottom line.
It led me to reflect on who are we as business owners when we “speak” on social media? Are we our individual selves or are we our brand? Is it possible to ask readers to see the difference between “Natalie” and “13 Rhythms”? Is it even a reasonable expectation?
With the use of social media being such a strong marketing tool for so many of our businesses, our network has the potential for global reach, which is a great thing. It also means that our visibility is magnified and that means that the things we say and do have an audience. It means that we always have to be thinking about the opinion that we share online – it’s important to remember that even if an online discussion group, or a “private” Facebook page feels “intimate” it isn’t in any way. Even if you have a business page, your personal page will often be fuelling it. This means that our digital footprint follows us everywhere online.
The thread that inspired this blog ended with people talking about taking their money elsewhere with comments relating to stopping patronising the poster’s business. What was interesting was that the offending comments weren’t made by the poster, they merely pressed a “like” on a comment that others took offence to. This was both interesting and scary to observe.
So I ask, is it you, or you? As a business owner, it seems that there is only one “you” – the choice is ours in regards to what we want to share, post and respond to in our online lives and we’re taking calculated risks with the impact it may have.
Let’s choose wisely…