What was once about customer service, respect and responsibility, and quality has now become an abstract idea in cyberspace. Facebook likes seem to hold more value right now than real likes, meaning a repeated story of one incident can have a longer lasting effect then a company that shows the same or greater values, but has no social media presence.

I suspect that this is quickly changing. Our growing social landscape affords us the opportunity to be real with each other. Social on the profit end can connect you with many potential customers, but on a more personal end it can also verify any companies true value contribution.

An example of this is found in the new feature on Facebook of displaying sponsored ads in the timeline. Okay, so every major company easily can pay to get 1000 likes to their advertised posts. However, at a closer look at comments, you can see where the tides are turning.

So, my example, is Lysol. Everyone knows how much I am opposed to disinfectant sprays and sanitizers. I believe, as do many published reports, that these products are only temporary fixes and in the long run can create a myriad of health and environmental issues. Of course, they can still manage to get over 1 million likes to their page. This irked me one morning, when I came across their sponsored post 4 times in one day, but upon closer inspection, I was actually relieved to see the sequence of comments. Everything from anger at why they are in a person’s timeline to posting links to studies on the dangers of excessive use, to personal testimonials on the side effects of using Lysol. I came out actually feeling educated on both sides of the coin. It seems that the new trend is demanding answers when companies are at their most vulnerable – when they are trying to LOOK like they are openly engaging with their audience.

Still, comments can be removed and posters can be villainized, but it is still refreshing to see such an open dialogue. Which 9 times out of ten seems respectful and honest. I believe this trend will grow as new generations become more educated and social media affords us the opportunity to be unapologetically ourselves.

So, if you have a small business, and are looking to enter the social media landscape, here is my advice. First, think of where your value is to your customers – Sell that. Then look at where your value is for the world in general. – Speak that. Then find ways to promote those values to your audience, and finally respond to critics, listen to the ever changing needs of your customers and adapt where you can.

Here is a great post I found online by a like minded blogger.
Can Social Media drive Social Responsability by Jacquie McCarnan

Peace and love.

P.S. This is a big reason why I oppose bills like SOPA that seek to regulate commentary and creativity in the guise of protecting the people. It’s tantamount to burning books in the old days saying knowledge is evil. *&^% that: Knowledge is power and connecting to like minded individuals is the key.