Social media can provide your company with many opportunities, as well as challenges
A decade ago, food processors could manage what they wanted consumers to believe about their company and the products it sold. Not any more. To quote Warren Buffet on how business has changed, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”
Warren Buffet’s chilling assessment of how quickly a company can bring demise upon itself today should be a wake up call for all. Most internet communication today isn’t through direct email but through social media. Here are some statistics on the medium:
This raises an interesting question. Whom should you fear the most: the Canadian Food Inspection Agency inspector, the third-party auditor, other auditors or the retail consumer? If you answered anything but the retail customer, you are missing today’s business reality, the paramount importance of food safety and the point of this article. If you don’t understand why, the reason is that your company has absolutely no control over what consumers will say about your products and your company in response to any issue. Social media affords consumers the means to severely punish a company for its mistake(s). However, social media can also provide your company with many opportunities.
If a company is willing to invest the resources to research social media and engage customers there are a number potential benefits. If you search online for “social media monitoring” you will discover more than 50 websites offering this service. Most will charge a fee for their services but a significant number of sites (Google Alerts, BackTweets, Buffer, HootSuite, Icerocket, Mention and Netvibes) either don’t charge for their services or offer free trial periods. Most of these sites offer support to users to learn how best to monitor what is said about a company, its products, its services and the industry sector. If you are not prepared to dedicate company personnel to monitor social media, there are many companies that will do this for a fee.
If you are still doubtful about the benefits of engaging in social media, here is a short list of other things social media can provide:
I believe that social media can provide a windfall of benefits above and beyond those listed above. Make it your company’s ally.
Dr. R.J. (Ron) Wasik PhD, MBA, CFS, is president of Delta, B.C.-based RJW Consulting Canada Ltd. Contact him at [email protected]
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