POSTED: 03/07/20

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AdobeStock 2Is it me or are people using their social media posts to vent, complain and in some cases, bully other people? Just recently we have seen Twitter temporarily ban Donald Trump for violating the company’s policy on hateful speech. Some of the biggest brands are threatening to boycott Facebook over its handling of hate speech, and many more brands are thinking of pausing all social media advertising for similar reasons.

What’s happening on Facebook?

Facebook is the ideal platform for businesses to engage with their customers and target their audience, but not all interactions are pleasant. I have firsthand experience of where Facebook has been used to complain about a business, rather than dealing face-to-face with the issue. Let me explain further, because this experience might resonate with other business owners.

This particular post was from a customer who had a bad experience at their hairdresser. Instead of addressing the problem at the time to the hairdresser, she posted derogative posts on another Facebook page. This led to negative posts from other people, which she copied and pasted to the hairdresser’s Facebook page. The hairdresser responded appropriately, acknowledging the customer’s complaint, informing her that they had a 7-day guarantee and that they pride themselves on addressing customer complaints.

Let’s bring back kindness to social media posts

The point is that these negative posts were unnecessary and very unkind. It’s unlikely that this customer would have spoken in the same way to the hairdresser, in fact she didn’t! Instead of talking to the hairdresser, this customer chose to vent online. Maybe we tend to forget that business owners are people with feelings? They get up every day, go to work, and do their best to help people. They don’t deserve to be bullied or harassed at work, even if some people say that because you’re a business you should toughen up!

So why don’t we just agree that if there’s a problem, we address it at the time, instead of posting negative comments? If you must post about a problem, however, why not include the solution as well? If the business owner apologises and rectifies the problem quickly, why not let people on social media know that the issue was resolved to your satisfaction. This is a much better way to interact with people online than simply venting.

How to be kind on social media

If everyone thought before they posted, the internet would be a much kinder place. Would you really say what you just posted to their face? So why post it? Why not take a deep breath and find another way to deal with the problem? If this requires you to speak to the person face-to-face, then do so. After all, there’s enough negativity, turmoil and tragedy in the world, why do you want to make it any worse? Why not make the world a better place by spreading kindness online? If you can’t do that, maybe you shouldn’t be posting.

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