You don’t have to use social media for your business, especially if you’re rude to customers

Whiz Tech Cafe in St. Louis, Missouri put on a clinic the other day on how not to use social media.

A comment about the cafe being too loud at night led to a bizarre and inapproiate exchange between the person running Whiz Tech Cafe’s social media account and a person who lived a floor above the cafe (the cafe is located in downtown St. Louis in a mixed-use building). This exchange quickly spread to more people and became a trending topic. You can see the full exchange here, but below I’ll put a few gems from @WhizTechCafe:

@TabithaKMeyer Its called part of downtown living maybe you should consider suburban living or get a loft that is not on the 2nd floor

@TabithaKMeyer WHO DO U THINK U R?? YOU STARTED WITH THAT IS Y NO ONE LIKES U N THE BUILDING SO DO NOT TELL ME WHAT I COULD HAVE DONE!!

That’s just not how you handle customer service on social media. Even if a customer is negative towards you or your business, you have to handle it with grace, especially since these exchanges are public. This feels like a teenager responding in anger and not a coordinated marketing and customer service experience.

Would a company honestly act like this in an advertising campaign or over the phone? Of course not. It’s unprofessional and frankly embarrassing.

Social media can be a great way for businesses to advertise, connect with customers and keep people updated. Social media has yielded a lot of success stories for local business. But you need a strategy, especially about how to handle different situations that may arise.

At the end of the day, you do not need to be on social media. If you or your business is not going to take social media seriously, and realize that what you’re doing affects your brand, do not go on social media. Figure out your goals with social media, have a written strategy and make sure everyone that touches your social media accounts knows how to execute that strategy in all situations.

For a small business like Whiz Tech Cafe, I’d recommend using social media to interact with customers, for providing info about the cafe (location, hours, menu), for customer service and to market the cafe. Part of that marketing would be to provide valuable information to loyal customers such as specials, new menu items, special events, etc. The other part would be to post photos and other content that would keep the cafe in the minds of its customers and to try to get new customers.

At no point would I recommend going off on anyone on Twitter. Yes, the original tweet sent at Whiz Tech Cafe was not the most polite, but this was not an appropriate response. In fact, no response may have been the best course of action.