If you read my blogs regularly, you already know that I’m a business owner.
I’m in petroleum — gasoline retail and delivery.
It happens often that I have customers complaining about the price of fuel. I totally understand, and try to empathize with them. I don’t want to pay high prices either.
I am happy to converse with anyone about any concern they have about my business — so long as that is done in a respectful, appropriate manner.
Now and then, though, that doesn’t happen.
I receive phone calls from angry people with raised voices, hurling accusations, and possibly cursing.
That’s where I draw the line. I am not a business owner that believes the customer is always right. The customer is right to a point. That point is where respect and common courtesy stop. Once that is lost, the customer is wrong.
A couple of weeks ago, early on a Monday morning, I received a phone call from a very angry customer. It should be understood that by the time the customer had me on the phone he had already ripped through my store clerk and my receptionist.
When he started swearing at me, I hung up. I do not put up with that.
Trying to be proactive, knowing that with rising fuel costs due to the Ukraine War, I put a post out on my company’s Facebook page. Rather than explaining it, here it is for you:
Simple. To the point. Trying to prevent my staff and myself from going through another event like this one.
Now, anyone who markets on social media regularly understands the painstaking process of putting a post together. Taking the time to make sure that every word is exactly right. Taking time to make sure that every image is exactly right. Some posts take hours!
The post above took me a grand total of five minutes — possibly less.
I wrote, reviewed, and published immediately.
Throughout the day, I tried to keep an eye on the comments that were occurring on the post. There were quite a few of them, and I just wanted to be sure to respond to any that required a response.
It was late afternoon before I happened to glance at how many views the post had obtained.
That didn’t include the comments, shares, and impressions from those shares.
52,000 people had seen my post.
Immediately I texted that to my best friend with the message, “Does this mean I’ve gone viral???”
Her twelve-year-old son assured both of us that yes, that was enough to be considered going viral.
As anyone knows, if a twelve-year-old agrees you’ve gone viral that is higher praise than any formal organization agreeing!
I started watching the numbers climb. Every time I would refresh my page I was seeing hundreds, if not thousands, of more views. I couldn’t possibly keep up!
By the time I went to bed that night, my passionate post had accumulated over 100,000 views.
When I woke up in the morning it had another 10,000!
I couldn’t believe it. As soon as I got to work I updated my senior team. We were all flabbergasted.
I was so proud that, if any post was going to go viral, it was that one! One where I posted it. One where I was advocating for my staff about something absolutely crucial.
I was pretty happy.
Then, the unbelievable happened.
I received a phone call from CHCH TV — a television news show located in the closest big city to Niagara Falls. They wanted to interview me about the incident, my post, and have it on the six o’clock news that night. Was I available and willing to do this?
Um, HELL YES! I didn’t even have to think about it.
I was about to have my fifteen minutes of fame. Totally unplanned when I had woken up the day before.
I was suddenly going to be on the news station that my husband, children, and I watch as we eat dinner almost every night. Advocating for something that I am so intensely passionate about.
It was incredible.
It lead to a couple of articles about the incident in local newspapers as well.
It also lead to a plethora of emails and phone calls — from friends and strangers alike- showing their support for me being so honest. So brave.
I didn’t, and don’t, consider it brave. It is simply unacceptable for anyone to treat others with such disrespect.
It needs to stop.
That post has now accumulated over 151,000 views, 1.6k shares, and 465 comments. It’s still growing, almost two weeks later.
What I’ve learned is, you can put all the time and effort you want into your social media posts but without honesty and passion you may never go viral.
So go for it. Be brave.
Stand up for what you believe in.
Until next time……………………………………………..XO-JGF