Having a solid social media plan is now seen as a vital part of any marketing plan. Today, we’re going to talk about customer safety and social media. We’ll teach you how to keep your customers safe while creating an effective social media plan.
People like to interact with their favourite businesses and get a peak behind the curtain. One area that is often overlooked when creating a social media plan is customer safety. Some people look at this issue as a “customer safety versus social media” scenario. As a result, customer safety gets ignored, and customer reach and interaction become limited.
Also, there is still a lot of education that needs to happen in terms of online abuse and how it’s a real life problem. Canada.com has a great series about how abusers use social media to ruin people’s lives.
At Skookum Monkey, we take this issue very seriously.
Customer Safety and Social Media
While social media is a great tool to reach existing and potential customers, there are a variety of real personal safety issues surrounding each social media platform. Social media platforms are also platforms for abuse. Each of the three major platforms—Facebook, Google+, and Twitter—have issues, but some way more than others. You need to understand these issues if you are going to create safe ways for your customers to interact with your business.
Facebook is the least safe place for people who are fleeing domestic violence, LGBTQI+ people, sex workers, people of colour, especially woman of colour, and other marginalized groups. These people are not a small group of people. This is a huge customer base.
Facebook has a policy that requires people to use a real name. Facebook claims that isn’t the case; that you can use a commonly used name, but abusers have found a way to abuse this. Abusers report profiles as fakes. Facebook suspends those accounts until the person who was reported shows ID with their real name and address and proof that the name they are using on Facebook is a common name. Facebook says they will not post the ID information. This is not true. Every week, Facebook doxes people by posting people’s real names and home addresses after promising not to, or Facebook simply removes people’s accounts when they refuse to hand over their ID because of legitimate personal safety concerns.
But, it’s not only marginalized people who get affected by this. Facebook once suspected William Shatner and demanded he show them his driver’s licence when someone reported his official page as a fake.
Google+ is the safest social media platform, but it’s not perfect. Reporting and blocking people takes a few steps too many. However, there is no real name policy. People can use whatever name they want. Also, controlling who sees what is much easier to control than Facebook. You never have to worry about private information becoming public at Google’s whim, like you have to worry with Facebook.
Twitter currently has a big abuse problem. They’ve made it possible for people you have blocked to still see your tweets if the abuser follows people who follow you, and the person who follows you re-tweets something you say. While Twitter keeps tweaking their abuse and harassment policy, it’s still not good enough. People have asked to make it easier for people to block and report, and instead, Twitter gave people a mute button.
The upside to Twitter is, you can keep your profile private and use whatever name you want. The downside of a private profile is that, unless your business follows everyone back and the private user approves you to see their tweets, you won’t be able to interact with customer.
How to Balance Customer Safety and Social Media
The answer is very simple: Make your website the main point of contact and customer interaction, and the main way you distribute information. If you only use say Facebook or Google+ to share new information or as a blogging tool, you’re eliminating customers.
Another thing to consider: What happens when you only use social media as your main point of contact and distribution of new information, and someone reports you or your business and your account is suspended?
Use social media to drive customers to your site. Have a comments section where they can ask questions and a contact page where they can send private messages. Do not use something like Facebook comments for your commenting tool. Make your comments section available to all by not requiring an account to comment. If you want some type of group associated with your brand so that customers can interact with each other, install BuddyPress and bbPress. Moderate your comments and your forums heavily so that they remain safe places of interaction. Yes, you can still use social media to interact with customers and answer their questions, but that shouldn’t be your primary point of contact.
Customer safety and social media should go hand-in-hand. You don’t have to sacrifice one for the other. If you create a social media plan that balances customer safety and social media, you’ll create happy customers and greater interaction.
Have any question? Leave a comment or contact us, and we’ll be happy to answer.
Save time and create customer safety: Hire Skookum Monkey to help integrate BuddyPress into your WordPress site and help create a customer safety-driven social media plan.