The BBC has reported that one such business has been damaged by comments made in an “untrue and misleading” social media campaign over hygiene standards.
Takings are said to have dropped by half at the Planet Spice restaurant in Norfolk when rumours circulated by text message and Facebook that the local council’s environmental health department had shut the restaurant down.
Rather than responding via social media, the restaurant owner Naz Miah has chosen a more traditional response and posted a notice on the door confirming his restaurant has passed hygiene checks.
Brand protection in the social media age is essential. Many businesses have used social media platforms to promote, build and grow their businesses especially within local and niche communities. However, the tide can quickly turn and organisations, no matter what size, must be ready to respond. Every day there are examples of bad customer experiences being made good by sensible and often creative PR teams offering responsive advice and suggestions. But it is not only for the likes of M&S and Starbucks to lead the way. SMEs in particular, who are close to their customers and clients, must act quickly and proactively to correct mistakes or false perceptions.
Although, Mr Miah has no idea who is spreading the rumours, or why, he might have considered responding to the allegations via the platform on which they were made.
Norfolk police said it was investigating whether a crime had been committed, although a civil action might be a more effective remedy.