The Punt: Social media dilemma for firms
FACEBOOK'S representatives at yesterday's Dublin Chamber of Commerce event, which promoted online trading among small businesses, went to pains to emphasise the importance of, you guessed it, Facebook.
Marketing manager Felicity McCarthy implored Irish enterprises to get involved in the "comments" section of their pages, and really interact with potential clients. This, she said, would pay off in satisfied customers and sales.
But The Punt knows there are two sides to every story. Opening yourself up to interaction with the public can be just as damaging as it is lucrative for businesses. In a famous US example, restaurant chain Applebees responded to criticism of its firing of an employee by posting a short Facebook post on the matter. The incident snowballed, generating 19,000 responses in 24 hours.
The brand responded by posting the same message again and again and arguing with users that criticised it, before hiding the post – which created more anger.
Though it undoubtedly has benefits if managed carefully, social media can be something of a minefield for businesses.
Dublin-based law firm William Fry says that companies should be mindful of what is being said about them online – especially given that, according to its research, two-fifths of employees would do nothing if they came across negative comments about their employer on social media.