Letter: Take care when posting on social media about businesses


Being a business owner comes with numerous benefits. You have the freedom to shape your company culture, control your destiny, and when the business thrives financially, so does the owner.

There are also significant hardships. Dealing with the stress of paying bills and ensuring a safe and profitable work environment for employees falls on the owner’s shoulders. The saying, “The buck stops here,” holds true in both good and bad times. Owners have faced these challenges for years, but what’s new is the impact of social media, which can often be negative. Personally, I’ve witnessed this issue extensively here on our island.

A typical scenario unfolds like this: A community member takes to a major Facebook page to air a complaint against a business. It may or may not be justified. Then, the court of public opinion chimes in, and negativity tends to outweigh the positive. You’ll see comments like, “How could the business ever do that?!” or “I’ll never take my family there”. At this point, the business owner can either attempt to defend their position (which rarely goes well) or hope the issue eventually dies down. Regardless, the assumption is often that the business is in the wrong. Just one person sharing a story, whether true or not, can cause a business to lose hundreds of customers.

In the past, when people had an issue with a business, they would first take it up with the owner or manager directly to resolve it. This approach typically worked. If not, they might leave a Google or Yelp review, and that would be the end of it. Sure, the review would be visible (often rightly so as there are certainly times the business is in the wrong), but at least hundreds of people wouldn’t be commenting on the situation without firsthand knowledge of the incident.

Social media is a powerful tool; it can bring communities together, lift others up, and promote local businesses. However, the opposite can also be true. I’m not saying that negative comments can never be posted on social media regarding local business. But they should only be shared after attempting to work with the business directly to resolve the issue.

Before putting a business on notice with a post, take a moment to consider the impact it may have on their ability to support their families and provide jobs for their employees. Engaging in direct communication with the business allows them to serve the community better and address the issue you had in the first place.

Bryan Stucky

Oak Harbor