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Who Speaks For Your Company?

wholesale merchandise prIt could be whispers in the dark or a shout from a roof top. Whether a large corporation or you're wearing all the hats, your company needs a plan, policy, and process to control your message to the world. Seems smart, right? Then why do so many organizations, especially small and micro businesses, ignore this important facet of operations?


Imagine this scenario: You're about to change operational hours due to mandated government rules. You have a meeting to explain this to your fifteen employees as accurately and honestly as possible. To boost morale, you tell them they can earn bonus money on sales of a new Wonder Widget product, but the deal is a secret for two more weeks. One employee is upset about the reduced hours and posts on social media, "Boss closing store." Another one posts "We carry Wonder Widgets! I get a bonus on each one I sell. #WonderWidget" Two leaked pieces of information. Now what would you do?


Yeah, the boss did a lot of things wrong in this scenario, but this scenario and others like it happen. Even a sole proprietor business can make a mistake without realizing it. A recent example happened when a local business owner used their personal page to praise a carpet cleaner for their service. This same local owner has a regular, professional relationship with a different carpet cleaning company, who was overbooked at the time. As you might've guessed, some feelings were hurt. Bad decision, someone too sensitive, a combination of both?


Remember your employees can help boost sales, too. In the Wonder Widget example, employees can be given ready-made copy to post on social media. It's a great way to build staff loyalty by involving them in the process. Another great part: this has is cost-free advertising to your bottom line. Most vendors will have a marketing kit with this material included.


Monitoring social media is equally as important in an age of instant online reviews. You need to thank people who post good reviews and offer resolve issues with someone who gave a poor review. Encourage your regular customers to post their positive comments to outnumber and counter the haters. If your business doesn't find itself on review websites, you still need to monitor online activity. Set up alerts to email you when your company's name, your name, names of your other managers, and names on your products appear on the Internet.


While you can't control everything said, you can take steps to give yourself the best advantage in any situation. Start with a communications and social media policy as part of the employee handbook and orientation. There are several handbooks available online for fee or free. You DO have a policy book even if you're a business of one, right?