Starting and growing your own business in this day and age, while difficult, can be really worthwhile. And unlike all those who came before you, there is one thing that serves as a true equalizer for businesses of all sizes and across continents: social media. These days, consumers expect businesses to maintain an online presence; and effectively enforce marketing and sales tactics through platforms like Facebook, Twitter and foursquare. Some startups will even hire staff via LinkedIn, or regularly update their own Tumblr accounts or cascade their updates to other platforms.
Corporate usage of social media has led to countless memorable exchanges between companies and customers, and has given entrepreneurs (particularly those operating with limited manpower and finances) new sets of challenges to contend with. While many startups have taken to social media quite easily and seem to have built a huge or bigger following within just a short period, there are startups (and even big corporations) that wind up doing extensive damage control and issuing mea culpas after someone hit that “Post” or “Send” button too early.
There are a few ways to avoid a war of words between you and miffed/combative customers:
Being tactless or politically incorrect, or having the wrong timing
Here\\\'s another area wherein lack of awareness regarding your target audience can be fatal to your startup. Your customers will come from all walks of life, and have varying sensibilities and preferences. Gender, racial, social and cultural differences should always be kept in mind; and proper wording and imagery have to be prioritized.
It\\\'s also highly recommended that social media staff/managers monitor current events and always be in the know when it comes to the day\\\'s high-ranking topics and trends. Updates and campaigns may coincide with unfortunate incidents and national calamities, and can rub people in the worst way possible.
Engaging in trash talk
People do a bit (or a lot) of trash talking to psych out a competitor and/or influence public opinion about another person, or an entity. Since you\\\'re in a startup, there\\\'s a huge need to set yourself apart from your rivals and make yourself visible in the crowd — and that huge need may make you go on the offensive and name names, especially if your rivals have put your startup in a negative light first.
Retaliation isn\\\'t the answer here, and remember that this will never be the appropriate arena for that kind of behavior. Your personal conduct, your company message, your products and services, and your treatment of existing and future customers should be more than enough to separate yourself from the competition. Comparisons such as “my products/services are better than what [Brand X] has” and similar statements should be avoided. Let your work speak for itself; consumers are smart enough to know where to go, and can make decisions on their own. Again, don\\\'t get too personal. Trabaho lang!