Remember the time before social media when word of mouth spread from talking to people face to face? I don’t. I have always heard about products and services online, it gets around quicker that way. I often see Facebook posts about movies and how good (or bad) they were. The main reason I saw Dunkirk was because my friend saw it and posted “bring an oxygen mask because you’ll be holding your breath the whole time.” Last April, I was in New York with friends. We went out to eat every night and would choose a place through Yelp. My friends browsed the nearby restaurants and would rule it out if it had a low rating. Lots of consumers pick and choose this way; they like to hear other people’s opinions to know if it is worth their time and money.
The internet is a PR megaphone for buyers. Unfortunately for businesses, people are more likely to share a negative experience online that a positive one. 55 percent of consumers said they switched to a different company after one bad experience. Negative rants are especially damaging when the company is tagged in the post. Research shows that 50 percent of shoppers make a purchase based on a social media recommendation, and the average consumer mentions brand names to peers 90 times per week online.
Bad word of mouth is a serious problem, but how the company responds to it can potentially save the day. For example, a tweet from a Jet Blue Airlines passenger said that his seatback TV gave him static for the entire 4-hour flight while everyone else’s worked okay. Jet Blue responded in less than 30 minutes apologizing for the incident and offered him a credit, which he gladly accepted. They made one passenger happy and now any Twitter user in the world can see how well Jet Blue cares for its customers.
Then there are examples of how NOT to do it. A woman once bought a pumpkin pie from a restaurant in Boston for Thanksgiving dinner and then ranted about how horrible it was on Facebook. The restaurant replied “go f*** yourself” and criticized her for complaining on social media instead of in person. Then, in a separate post, they called people who eat out “uneducated, unintelligent, unpolished human beings.” If you want to keep customers coming back then don’t insult them, especially online. Who would want to eat at that restaurant after seeing this? Negative word of mouth on social media is one thing, but handling it poorly will ruin your business forever.
Good social media marketing not only involves keeping up with habits of buyers who like to interact with brands online before purchasing, but to make sure and take care of them after the purchase.