Social Media… Oh, The Places You’ll Go!

Who would have thought that one of the best life and business lessons can be learned by reading one of the great Dr. Seuss books?

“You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.635747312488442229-1186318691_oh-the-places-youll-go
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…”
Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go!

Enter Social Media – possibly the 21st century’s greatest dilemma for small businesses! Why, you ask? Because you can have brains in your head and steer your self and business in the right direction but one wrong move on social media and a business can be helped, hindered, or destroyed. Although Social Media is not inherently bad, the damage can be devastating to a small business, especially if the damage was not self-inflicted.

Overcoming Intentional Sabotage

For example, a few years ago, I was on a casual Face Time chat with a colleague who was killing time in a car dealership waiting room. ‘Eddie’ was lamenting the demise of his apprentice who acted against his advice and subsequently earned a not-so-flattering nick name by a few fickle vendors. As veterans in the industry who cared about the apprentice and his business, Eddie and I strategized a plan for damage control and a delicate approach so as to not add insult to injury in an already awkward situation.

A nosy customer in the waiting room overheard bits of our conversation and took offense. Noticing Eddie’s company name and logo on his shirt, Ms. Nosy took her offense to a free online social media ‘review’ site where a one-star review of Eddie’s company was left. Ms. Nosy also unleashed a lengthy and grossly fallacious interpretation of our conversation based on the fragmented sound bites heard between screeches of intercom announcements and bustle of waiting room traffic [no pun intended].  Understand that Ms. Nosy was not a customer of Eddie’s company and did not purport to be one in the review. In fact, Ms. Nosy admitted that her review was based on a conversation overheard in the car dealership waiting room. Eddie requested multiple times that the website remove the bogus review since Ms. Nosy violated the terms of use, which requires reviews to be based on the reviewer’s experience as a customer of the company being reviewed. Over 2 years later, the negative review which amounts to nothing more than intentional sabotage is still on the website.

Overcoming Self-Inflicted Guffaws

More common than the rare occurrence of third-party sabotage is self-inflicted social media damage the origins of which typically evolve from posting politically incorrect opinions [eh hem] or unethical posts made out of ignorance. What then? Even if your ‘Post Remorse’ comes quickly, the dastardly opine it can still go ‘viral’ if someone else was quick to the draw and re-posted before you could hit delete! Worse yet, Social Media ethics is not a defined set of metrics. With the exception of libel, false advertising, or clear-cut negligence social media ethics violations could catch even the most well-intentioned by surprise. As Dr. Seuss, would say:

I’m sorry to say so
but, sadly, it’s true
that Bang-ups
and Hang-ups
can happen to you.”

So what’s a business person to do to in this viral, instant communication-gratification world? Short of shuttering your self and business from the world wide web, my best suggestion is to attend the Healthy Homes Real Estate Education Summit on December 10th at the Illinois State University Alumni Center where  Social Media Ethics guru, Marki Lemons-Reyhal, will walk us through Social Media Ethics in Real Estate. Whether you need the CORE B continuing education or are simply looking for quality Professional Development, you won’t want to miss this event.

The Education Summit is choc full of other great education and professional development for real estate professionals across all industries including Home Inspection, Radon Mitigation, Radon Testing, New 2016 Energy Efficiency Laws for Real Estate, Liability in the Real Estate Industry, and a live hands-on Radon Mitigation.  For more information or to register for the Summit online:

Education for Realtors, Home Inspectors and Radon Professionals!

Education for Realtors, Home Inspectors and Radon Professionals!

Hoping to see you on December 10th!

Lin Marie