Using Facebook to Ridicule Your Competition

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Remember back in middle school when you were feeling low or insecure about yourself? You gathered a bunch of your closest friends and said nasty things about the popular crowd, or the nerd, or the brainy kid in your class? It probably made you feel better, at least for a little bit. Fortunately, the things you said were contained to your circle of friends.

I’m sure none of you have missed the recent headlines pertaining to bullying on Facebook and other outlets on the Internet. Children’s passive-aggressive game of boosting their egos at the expense of others has moved into a much more public arena, resulting in humiliation, alienation and suicide. It’s tragic.

I don’t mean to belittle that topic by relating it to business, but I have noticed a recent trend of professionals attacking their competitors via Facebook and Twitter. As adults, we have the coping skills to let the comments roll over us and move on, but it certainly lends an air of negativity to business, and frankly makes the one issuing the scathing comments look ridiculous.

For a presentation I did earlier this year for Wedding MBA, I interviewed about 70 brides via phone and email about what made them choose one wedding vendor over another. The number one turnoff for that group of brides was when vendors trashed their competitors. Most of the brides said that the moment a vendor started speaking badly about another vendor, they decided that there was no way that they would work with him.

Remember, Facebook is like taking out a giant billboard ad. Whatever you say screams loudly about the kind of person you are. Before you post something that might be best said in whispers amongst your closest friends, consider how others (clients, competitors and fellow professionals) will perceive your post. Is what you have to say really worth tarnishing your image in the tight-knit wedding community?

Also consider this: bolstering another’s self-esteem by publicly congratulating him or her makes you look like an industry leader and someone to admire. That positive impact lasts a long time. In what light would you rather be seen?

I’d love to hear what you think about using Facebook for your business. Post for me here or send me an email to susan(at)susansoutherland(dot)com.

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Showing 4 comments
  • Kerline Docteur

    Great post Susan! You are absolutely correct, remaining a professional at all times is a must. Facebook, Twitter and various other media outlets have become an extension of our websites and blogs: thus a part of our brand and image. It is imperative that there is some consistency.

    Real leaders and trailblazers lead by example and their actions will show you that they are leaders.

    • Susan Southerland

      I could not have said that better myself!

  • Sharon

    Thank you so much for writing about this topic….I myself was the target of adult bullying this year by a professional counterpart in my town. I had arranged for a workshop to be offered locally to help others in my field improve their skills and I advertised the workshop via Facebook. This bullying counterpart got the name of the workshop’s instructor from Facebook and contacted her several times completely bashing her and trying to intimidate her into not teaching the workshop.

    I ended up BLOCKING HER ON FACEBOOK so that she can no longer “creep” my information to use against me, but the damage was already done.

    Not only did she try to sabotage the workshop, she took the opportunity to badmouth me and the workshop openly to our mutual counterparts in person at a professional “mixer” meeting. It’s sad that she felt so insecure that she had to put forth that much energy trying to put a stop to the workshop and trying to prevent our counterparts from learning and improving.

    “Whatever you say screams loudly about the kind of person you are”. That is soooooo true. I don’t have to try to tear her down in retaliation because she is doing a fine job of that all by herself! Thanks so much for this post!

    • Susan Southerland

      Hi Sharon, I’m glad you enjoyed this topic. I’m sorry that you are going through such a social networking nightmare. I really and truly believe that people will see the person bullying you for what she is. Just keep your eye on your goals, keep your integrity in tact and things will work out.

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