Today surviving in internet is not easy for a company. It does not only consist of wanting to remain, but to know how to deal with the web. Staying in internet is not just to post occasionally in your networks, this implies a studied, conscious relationship with your clients, and also to follow a code of conduct which is learned by observation, keeping an eye on other companies, and specially using social media like users.
Although no one sets the rules of the game and there are no specific user manuals, here it is possible to find some examples of bad actions that companies must avoid when they interact with customers and visitors in social media or other online places.
Separating online from offline reputation: there is only one reputation, therefore strategies based in being very good listening or answering in internet does not make sense if you do not carry out actions which improve your offline business. Reputation must be as a whole and take into account that reputation depends on your interaction with customers in the real world.
Number instead of quality as objective: in recent times performing in internet means for the companies to accumulate fans and followers, believing that this is the easiest way to measure the effectiveness. However, the number is nothing without quality. It is preferable less followers who actually are interested in knowing what you do than a large audience which does not mind your company.
To answer just because you have to do it: there are few actions that grow such a bad reputation as standard and empty answers, for instance “thanks, we will take it into account”. Customers want a warn relationship in which they feel that there is a person who is talking with them instead of a robot. You must give real solutions!
Being impulsive: Internet allows and needs immediacy in interactions with clients, but this does not means to answer the first thing which comes to your mind, especially when it has to do with solving a problem or answering negative criticisms. It is better to think it and not to give a rapid response. You must be aware of your words because these will stay for a long time, affecting the perceptions of the people about your business.
To create fake profiles: whether the profile is to fight against the competence or to reinforce yours, this is not a good idea. Some companies still use this strategy, but users realise easily what profiles are fake, which finally means give a bad image of the business. It is far much better to spend your efforts improving in other ways.
Not to accept negative criticisms: there are still some companies which do not admit negative criticisms. Fatal error. It generates an image of intolerance and lack of respect to the clients who want to collaborate for improving your business. Although criticisms are very difficult to deal with, it is quite better to show your listening, self-criticism skills and decisive attitude to your clients instead of losing them because of an intolerant position. You need to accept responsibility and see it like an opportunity to learn, improve and, more important, to recover the clients who are disappointed with you.
Crossing the thin line of spam: which is the perfect point in online communications? When do you lose your customers’ interest? Info which can be very interesting for a client may be irrelevant for another one. You must to think really good how many and how often your communications will be launched, and also what content you want to transmit. You need to be aware of users and clients’ tolerance to brand info is less than the tolerance to info of friends and known people. It is not necessary that they are in touch with you everyday.
To be obsessed with “trolls”: it is frequent that every company finds its archenemy who always opposes, it does not mind what it does. The “troll”, which is trouble maker, is easily recognised by users and is not worth to pay attention to him.
Not to take care your tone in communication: to get defensive, show a hostile position, bad responses or not to use tact in your answers could be a disaster in the future. It is really important to have the proper tone in communication and take the needed time for answering in order to keep happy your audience.
“To buy” opinions: to offer discounts, promotions or a special gift with the purpose of obtain loyalty is quite different from offering rewards in return for opinions, likes or stuff like this. The first one is absolutely recommendable, however the second one will create followers who just want the prize. Eventually it is only noise and it seems that reputation is purchased.