Businesses flock to Facebook because of the relatively free platform to reach the all to critical piece of business: social media reach. With this free platform comes the opportunity to reach a global audience. One Australian woman found that it also leaves you open to global cyber bullying that can destroy your business.
As reported by The Observer, Emma Thompson lives in Calliope, a town within Queensland, Australia. She opened an online business for plus size fashion called Evalong Boulevard with $10,000 in June of this year. Like most businesses she took advantage of the Facebook platform and ran an online contest where women submitted their images through Facebook. When the contest went viral her Facebook page and website became bombarded with hate filled messages about plus size women and death threats to her and her family. The location services through Facebook gave her bullies her location. All this led to the closing of her business and removal of her website. Emma has since learned she was not alone and has joined other woman to form Strangers United Against Bullying to offer support to others.
Business etiquette on social media is very different than etiquette through your personal networks. They should mirror each other in support of causes, positivity and brand messaging. The way you speak through social media has to be acceptable for not just your friends, but to your future customers and investors. People often gravitate to your business because of your personal posture in the community your business will thrive in. People watch how you conduct business and how you respond to negativity through your social media platforms.
I have been fortunate not to have had a great deal of cyber bullying happen to me in the work I do in the plus industry. I do find it more when I am conducting radio interviews about plus initiatives with callers seeming to listen intently for an opportunity to be abusive and offensive. I welcome a spirited debate so that I am given an opportunity to provide a perspective they may not have thought of. Afterwards, I am often left drained, exhausted and angry that they got to me. The energy is toxic and I can understand how it could cause someone to walk away. There are those that you can’t reach, who only want to be vicious and no matter what you do or say it will never stop them. You have to find a balance and tailor your response to your professional and personal audience.