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September 2015

Jack GuarnieriJ
by Jack Guarnieri
ersey Jack

Take Charge of Your Company's Social Media

Social Media. The combination of those two words had virtually no meaning a few years ago. But today, they can mean the difference between success and failure for almost any business.

Some years ago, it was the rage to “put up a website” so your company had a milepost on the Internet Highway. Today a website is nice, but a business needs to have much more than a page with a blurb about why someone should do business with you instead of someone else.

There are many social media professionals who earn great livings teaching companies how to handle their presence on social media (or managing it for them). This may include the website, but most likely involves Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Pintrest, Tumblr, Vine, Flickr, VK and Google+ (and more every day). Does your company “Tweet” or have a presence in any of those places? It should.

How about Yelp? This is a website where people can rate your business and the experience they had there. Unfortu­nately, a Yelp user can write a review of a restaurant without ever even having a meal there, or rate a company without ever doing business with them. In fact, the post could be actually be a competitor writing a bad review about your pizza. If that happens, there’s not much you can do except to hope that others giving you four or five stars out of five so the lower, one- and two-star reviews aren’t in the majority.

In social media, it’s a bit like landing on the Moon. Whoever gets there first owns it. Woe to the business owner responding with a great explanation without it sounding like a poor excuse. If you have problems, fix them because if not, you’ll consistently get bad reviews. If there’s bad news, it’s better if you’re honest and get ahead of it.

Disgruntled former em­ployees are especially happy to write bad stuff, whether true or not. Eventually, the truth will catch up to the lie and people will figure it out, but usually not until some damage is done.

Your customers may not love you if your service is bad, but your competition certainly will! In the “old days” before social media, a customer would have to write a letter to a company to get some satisfaction and maybe they would eventually get a response. Today, anyone with a beef against a company can get instant gratification by posting their problem on social media, which gets immediate response from other potential customers.

A company’s credibility must translate online in social media just as it does in “real life.” If a company doesn’t have credibility, the consumer will be more likely to believe a negative reviewer. That’s a failing grade. It’s even worse when the consumer doesn’t believe the people at the company since they will tune out any explanatory responses.

How do you know when posted reviews are legitimate? It depends on the site, but it’s why I love Amazon.com. They have strict guidelines about what reviewers can write and most reviews are submitted by people who have actully bought and used the products.

Believe it or not, I’ve actually heard of some consumers who threaten to write bad reviews or posts to social media in an effort to get what they want like a lower price or better deal. No matter what you do in a situation like that, there’s no guarantee that they’ll write something positive. Can you imagine that there are people who’ll post untrue things in an effort to extort something from a business? They’re really what I would call “Social Media Terrorists.”

Today, everyone with a mobile device is empowered to review or broadcast to the universe how they feel, what they’re doing or show pictures of what they’re eating at that moment. Sometimes it’s just too much information. But for a business owner, it’s always best if you’re the one controlling the tone and temperament of your business’ social media presence. Being engaged in the process is key and customers appreciate that.

Jack Guarnieri started servicing electro-mechanical pinball machines in 1975 and has been involved in every phase of the amusement game business since then. He operated a substantial game route in Brooklyn, N.Y., and developed amusement centers including Fuzzy’s Family Fun Factory. In 1999, he founded Pinball-Sales.com to sell coin-op to the home market. Last year, Jack founded Jersey Jack Pinball (named after his RePlay Magazine pen name), which is designing and developing full-featured, full-sized commercial-arcade pinball machines for manufacture in early 2012. The first game is based on a licensed theme, the timeless The Wizard of Oz. To learn more, visit www.jerseyjackpinball.com. You can email him at jack@jerseyjackpinball.com or by phoning him directly at 800/473-JACK.

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