Social networks present enormous branding and marketing opportunities, but they also present significant risks to business reputations. A company page or business profile on Facebook setup and properly optimized will drive traffic to company websites, products and services. The Search Engine Optimization (SEO) results of this are incredible although companies often neglect to understand the potential risks posed from a 'public' forum. Facebook, Blogs, Yelp and other interactive websites enable anyone to share experiences opinions, ideas and feedback which needs to be monitored daily. The example below is only one of the dozens of 'sales' and new business received from Facebook where people will often post requests for contacting them about a new website, SEO or social marketing. This referral made late Wednesday evening on Facebook became a new customer early Thursday morning. In addition to the new customer it adds creditably when others see public recommendations for your company, products or services!
Best case scenario social networking will expand the reach of a brand, product or service though multiple online locations similar to having a billboard on every major highway in the city. Worst case, if social networking is not managed and monitored properly, a disgruntled customer or former employee may cause harm through negative, false or misleading posts. No company will make every customer completely happy 100% of the time, mistakes happen, people have bad days and sometimes there are just difficult people who choose to be unhappy no matter what. The best way to combat this is constant daily management of all social media marketing to immediately address any issues as an opportunity to improve customer satisfaction.
Someone who may have had a bad experience can give you the opportunity to correct that or at least empathize through social networking. If there was a misunderstanding it can be cleared up quickly similar to a recent experience I had with Aristocrat Motors over my Jaguar service. I left a review for Aristocrat Motors on www.Yelp.com pertaining to a misdiagnosis of a problem and an unresolved issue with the service center. A representative from Aristocrat motors monitored the online reviews for the company and contacted me with an offer to resolve the past issues which will bring me back to them as a customer.