Are your personal social media comments ruining your business?

By Nancy E. Hassel, American Pet Professionals Are your personal social media comments ruining your business? We have all heard it before, be careful what you post – mostly for people looking for jobs, high school and college grads, your social media is not as private as you think and so forth. Yet I see many pet professionals either bashing someone on social media, putting their personal views out there so much – they are bound to offend potential customers, business colleagues or worse ruin their reputations.   I am not talking about being politically correct all the time, or stifling your views on a certain topic - but think about it first – remember the saying, ‘if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.’ Or maybe when you would have never said some of the things you now say online outside of your living room prior to social media taking over? Or in person – it’s safe from behind your keyboard, right - not so much if you’re trying to build a business, a good reputation, and be respected.   In the pet world we are very passionate about our pets, what we should feed them, what products to use, training methods, vaccine protocols so on and so forth. And that is a good thing – that we are passionate about our pets that is. But have your ever watched a simple question or shared post erupt into a full on brawl in the comment sections? People suddenly hate each other or now think less of someone because of their comments. It is really ridiculous when you think about it. We are living a super hyper-sensitive world folks. (What pisses me off? Don’t say anything negative about my dog or his breed! Lol that’s about it!)   Think about how quickly companies drop their sponsorships of celebrities or sports figures because of an offensive Instagram or Twitter post?   Could your comments ruin a new business partnership or potential customer? You betcha!   So my pet professionals – here’s some food for thought, some kibble if you will. The next time you see something someone posts that you whole-heartedly disagree with – THINK before you post your comment.  

  • Take a step back and don’t comment right away.
  • Is your comment really necessary?
  • Will your comment piss off potential customers, donors, adopters?
  • If you do comment – BE KIND.  Be respectful of the other person’s opinion – you never know where that person is coming from, how much experience they have, etc.
  • And remember, often the context in a comment (or email) comes across in a very different way than if you were just having a conversation with that person face-to-face.
  Maybe you have a great business or rescue established but you are posting not so nice stuff on your personal pages or commenting so much that you become a ‘top commenter’ and someone decides to Google your name and business.  Your comments can come up in a Google search.  Maybe you commented and now the person googling you sees one or two comments they disagree with or don’t like. And that customer or potential adopter is now gone and left with a bad taste in their mouth about you/your business/your rescue and yet they NEVER met you!  
  • Be careful not to be libelous about someone either on social media – that can land you in hot water – and I am not talking about a hot tub!
  • Listen to your gut. If you have a nagging feeling that you should not comment – DON’T! Simple as that!
  I get it we are human, we like to complain every once in a while on social media, comment by providing good advice (or what we think is good advice), or disagree with something being said, and we all have different opinions. We are human – we are not perfect!  We also can be quick to judge just by reading a comment or post. 🙁   As a business professional in the pet industry, media and public relations worlds – I just say, please think before you comment. Walk away from your phone or keyboard and go pet your dog, tend to your business, do something to take your mind off of it. We can so easily get caught up in a comment debate, who’s right and who’s wrong, that we forget we are all in this business, this industry, for the love of pets and we have way more in common with each other, than we don’t.   One last suggestion, maybe take a few days off from social media – or at least shut if off for the day. I double-dog dare ya!  It’s not that hard to do!  I log out often – especially when I am slammed with work. Feels great to not have the distraction or get caught up in reading comments and shaking my head when I see a cringe worthy comment – and think Why? Why did you just say that publicly...oy vey! What do you think - have you seen anyone (without saying names!) ruin their business reputation or rescue by some of the comments they have posted? ]]>

1 Response

  1. Great post Nancy. I have seen something blow up out of proportion and it's just not worth it. What you said about reading a comment can be very different from hearing the same comment is so true. The lack of inflection and facial expression can really change the meaning of your words. Mama always said "think before you speak", whether it's verbal or written words it's still very very true. Children must be taught that too, the problem with cyber bullying is really terrible. Have a great July 4th weekend! Sheryl