Within the last few months you’ve probably read or heard of stories of people being fired or tweeting their way out of a job, by saying inappropriate things on social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook. One minute their future looks bright, the next they’re standing in the unemployment line.
It’s not just every day Joe’s who are making these career-limiting comments. Mobile food business owners have also been known to say negative things about customers as well.
There’s something about social media that lulls some people into thinking their comments are private. But when you put anything out on social media sites, you should assume it is open and viewable by the world. Even private messages have been known to end up on sites like Gawker due to technical glitches.
Customers may well end up following you or friending you on social sites whether you encourage it or not. You may think they are not savvy enough to find you on Twitter or LinkedIn or Facebook. But they could surprise you. Ever heard of the “search by email to find your friends” function in social sites? It’s not limited to finding “friends” – you can find colleagues, employees, and yes, food service providers.
Even if you use a pseudonym, today’s identity sharing services such as Disqus and Backtype have a way of finding all of your identities and stringing them together, in ways that can make it easy for others to discover your online aliases and track your activity.
All of this means there’s a good likelihood that an actual customer will someday find what you have written on these social sites. So don’t jeopardize your relationships by speaking disrespectfully of them.
In case you needed to be reminded of it, here are 3 things never to say on social media sites, if you value your food truck customers:
I hate this customer
First rule of business: never use the word “hate” to describe a person responsible for paying you money, on any kind of social media site. Even if you clearly intended the message to be about some OTHER customer, here’s the unpleasant thought that goes through the reader’s mind: “If they complain about that other customer, I wonder what they REALLY think about me?”
I don’t want to … speak with STUPID customers
I have found numerous variations of the “stupid customer” statement on Twitter just within the last few months. Some of them are made by people with real photos and names, so I imagine it wouldn’t be too hard for one of those “stupid customers” to put two and two together. And don’t forget Question/Answer sites; Facebook; Yelp; blogs; and discussion boards – all are places where it’s oh-so-easy easy to start a rant, or leave a comment – being careless in what you say.
It is political season, and many of us have very strong emotions about our politicians. Don’t forget that many of your customers do as well. Food truck owners across the country are very conscience of the local politics regarding the mobile food industry, and I am not implying that you should keep quiet on these issues, however, if you are watching one of the political conventions, a debate or even an ad try to keep your opinions to yourself…or at least off of the social media sites. The United States is currently divided in support of the two major political parties. By ranting about one party’s beliefs, you risk alienating half or more of your customers. Don’t slow your sales by inadvertently discriminating against the political leanings of your customers…no matter how strongly you feel about a particular topic.
We all want to feel respected and valued, your customers are no different. In today’s environment where getting new food truck customers can be difficult, and most food truck owners can’t afford to insult a paying customer through thoughtless social media comments – or have a customer question your judgment based on what you may carelessly say.