A side note to the social media and reputation management article from December, social networks like Facebook are also important to monitor, although these reputation management issues may be harder to resolve amongst social networked groups than in moderated forums.
I am noticing amonst my Facebook community that joining “groups” are hugely popular. Examples of groups are:
“The Derek Zoolander Center For Kids Who Can’t Read Good”
“My Name Always Gets Mispronounced”
“A.A.A.A.A American Association Against Acronym Abuse”
“YOU KNOW YOU WENT TO SAN DIEGUITO ACADEMY WHEN…”
“Blue Ribbons, Help Stop Child Abuse”
Some are completely tongue-in-cheek, some build community around a school, workplace or other group, and others center around a greater cause.
There is also opportunity for businesses to sponsor groups for product promotion or employment recruiting. Some examples are Geffen Records, American Eagle Clothing and Jeep. Not sure how these companies are going around building community but potential ways would be to select brand evangelist “influencers” on campus and get them involved and talking about the group, and inviting their real friends. Another way would be for a company to do a search, for example “hip hop,” and all members with “hip hop” listed in their favourite music or interests in their profile would display, and a mass group invite can be sent.
Checking out the Victoria’s Secret Pink group, the group offers free wallpaper downloads and “buddy icons”, coupons, a place for users to upload their own photos wearing the product (many more guys are going to join this group now), and discussion threads. The group has over 300,000 members.
But since these groups are started by members and are largely uncensored, any business is vulnerable to negative word of mouth. For example, I just noticed today a local pub just outside Vancouver has a group dedicated to spreading the word that the pub’s decision to start charging cover and scan IDs is ridiculous. The group lists all the reasons why patrons should take their business elsewhere because:
Word on the street is that *PUB* is now charging cover and scanning ID’s… *EXPLETIVE DELETED*, the only reason I go there is because it’s close and free. In fact, I think they should be paying me to go there. In accordance, I am proposing a boycott of all things *PUB* night until this heinous decision is overturned.
IT’S JUST THE PRINCIPLE OF IT:
1) They Never have drink specials
2) The live band is older than my grandma.. give it up guys, the dream is over. P.S. there are other songs than Summer of ’69, Cecila, Jesse’s Girl and Sweet Caroline. Maybe if we go back when we’re 40, they will play songs we grew up with. Obviously I’m speaking hypothetically, because by that time the current band members will be confined the the old age home that they should already be relegated to.
3) K-Fed the bouncer is a tool. Buddy, you’re a bouncer at the *PUB*.. you are a nobody. I’m pretty sure you go to *COMMUNITY COLLEGE*.
4) They don’t let me dance on tables. Have you seen half the girls (I use that term lightly) who go there? You are lucky I grace your *COLOURFUL NAME FOR YOUR ESTABLISHMENT* with my presence.
5) Guys can’t wear hats. Props to whoever brought that up because I always thought it was a *EXPLETIVE DELETED* joke. Dear *PUB*: You are not now, nor will you ever be, a classy establishment. You are mediocre at best…. and that’s being generous.
Wait, why do we go there again? OH YEAH, BECAUSE IT WAS FREE!!!! *EDIT* please… get real *PUB*. If I never have to go back, it will be all too soon.
I’m posting this as raw (with the exception of the cusswords and business name) because I think this is exactly what people are thinking and saying. *PUB* should take this feedback seriously, this is the best market research you can get. No doubt more customers are feeling the same way and there are plenty of other pubs that can absorb their business. So just being a Facebook member has its privileges, you can see what people are saying.
Since Facebook is password protected and is not searchable through regular search engines, it’s important for EVERY BUSINESS to appoint someone to create a personal account to have access to the network’s search engine.
As far as rectifying the situation, this pub can’t really do anything to shut the group down, but the business can take action to reverse its decision to charge cover and join this group and announce its decision. Of course, the pub may have better reasons than just making a bit more money to charge cover. In that sense, the pub has to consider its other options. If its house band is too expensive, hire a DJ or offer up-and-coming bands a chance to play for less money or free drinks. The point is, the business can do something about the negative perception and catching something like this early can be of great value.
So Facebook opens a door for businesses to tap into existing social networks and create micro-communities within the network, but also opens the door to negative publicity as well. Businesses need to be ever more in tune with social networking communities like Facebook and be aware of the strategies required to leverage the community and also to minimize negative word of mouth.