How to avoid the wrath of the mass public as an SME?
Small businesses are very important to an economy — any economy. But one of the downsides of being small is that in today’s world, if you’re not careful, you could be gone out of business and buried in the sands of time, faster than you could get approved for a new line of credit.
With recent events such as mass shootings, protests, overnight court rulings, etc., you have to be extra careful of what you put out there as a small business entity. Especially your promotional material. Online or offline.
Not to mention with all the SJWs, Social Live Streamings, and PC Mobs, all you need is one slip up. It doesn’t matter whether it was intentional or not. You’d probably end up in a boycott list.
And they say there’s no such thing as ‘bad publicity’.
Now, you might ask, “Why just small businesses? Why not big businesses and franchises? Are they immune from this phenomenon?”
No, they’re most definitely not. In fact, big companies have a larger risk since their big names (and more people knows them) and their size attracts negative opinions (i.e., big bad greedy corporations).
But, they have an advantage. They outsource — or have a dedicated in-house team — for their marketing side of things. So they can stay ahead of the trend because they have people constantly monitoring every trend.
But, unless you have the multi-million dollar budget to either hire a marketing agency or have an in-house team, you can’t apply their strategies.
Luckily, all this trouble can be avoided with some planning.
1. Leverage your most loyal customers.
Brand loyalty is very important nowadays. If your business doesn’t have any loyal customers, chances are, your business will end up being another case study for another ‘Failed Businesses in 202X' article.
Loyal customers are highly valuable. They know the business, the people in front and behind the curtains, its values, what it stands for, etc. In case of a slip-up, they won’t be easily discouraged (read — disappointed), and would probably be open-minded to your side of the story.
That’s a good thing.
Maybe they’ll respond to the bad reviews on Yelp. Maybe they’ll spread the good word to battle with the bad reviews.
After all, nothing beats the opinions of regular customers, right?
2. Increase your loyal customer base.
This also applies to you if your business has little to no loyal customers.
Like I said, in a world with a breakneck pace, brand loyalty is more valuable than diamonds.
And it keeps getting harder to come by.
This is why you should train your employees to treat your customers (and people in general) with extra care whenever they can, and making them feel important and valuable — because they really are.
As we all know from our own experiences, even a simple smile can do magical wonders to customers’ attitudes.
This also includes — but definitely not limited to — being honest with customers, being true to your words and promises, personalizing customer experience whenever possible (such as remembering their name, usual order, extras they like, etc.), thanking them for choosing you, and generally, not taking your customers for granted.
3. Make sure your social media marketing game is on-point.
Aka getting more eyeballs and ears on the content you put out.
This helps you with getting your brand message out there whenever needed. Especially when you want people to hear what you have to say.
Plus, the more exposure you have, the better it’d be since you’re getting free ad space on thousands of people’s feeds.
Also, you can showcase what you stand for in times of need. A great example of this is the #blacklivesmatter hashtag everywhere, and businesses and brands using it to showcase what they stand for and what they don’t stand for.
As a bonus, you’ll be able to interact with your customers through social media, engaging them to further strengthen your brand loyalty. Since this is happening on social media, all out in the open where everyone can see what’s happening, more people will identify your brand and its values, creating a positive attitude in their minds.
Now, you don’t need to worry much. There’s a silver lining in every dark cloud.
In this case, the silver lining is that people love — and support — small businesses. We saw this during the pandemic, since everyone advocated for keeping the little guy — or gal — in business. They shopped at local stores, rather than going to chain stores. They ate from Mom & Pop’s shops. Even celebrities promoted this.
So maybe it’s a good thing after all that the public doesn’t have a bad faith when it comes to small businesses, right? You just have to play your cards right.