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When Taylor Swift Attacks

 By now, we’re sure you’ve all heard about the Taylor Swift v. Apple smack-down that took place last Sunday in which the 25 year old megastar eloquently ended Apple’s plan to offer a free 3 month trial of its new music streaming service without paying royalties to the artists whose music they would be streaming. This was not a clash of lawyers struggling in the courtroom arena or an epic war of words: nope, Taylor Swift simply and demurely wielded one of the most powerful weapons all millennials carry in their arsenal – social media.  Her letter to Apple, posted on her Tumblr page last Sunday morning, was so efficient that top Apple executive Eddie Cue not only agreed to pay royalties to artists during the three month trial, but called her personally to tell her the news, all within 24 hours. If this doesn’t show you the true power of social media, we’re not sure what does: Ms. Swift’s public call-out was a prime example of how an individual can influence a big company.
Granted, we’re not all high profile recording artists, but that doesn’t lessen this truth: we all have the power to affect change through social media. And as a business owner, this means that your customers all have the same power too. We’d like to hope that the social sphere is always a happy place with positive interactions, but we know better: it’s more like a shark tank, and unexpected attacks are always a possibility. For this reason, more than Taylor Swift’s letter, we should consider Apple’s response. Rather than shying away or taking the matter to a more private arena, Apple acted quickly and publicly, meeting and matching her move with a Twitter post reading “We hear you @taylorswift13 and indie artists. Love, Apple.”  
We’ve talked about online reputation repair before; the same principles apply here. If your business is called out on social media, unless you want attention for all the wrong reasons, it’s best to keep your cool, apologize, and make it right with the person lodging the complaint. Although Apple may have had their name dragged through the mud for a few months following this incident had they reacted stubbornly, as a multi-million dollar company, they most likely would have bounced back. Small business owners don’t necessarily have that luxury. Especially in the early stages of building brand trust and recognition, poor public interaction, particularly in the social sphere could be a death sentence.  The same goes for online review sites such as Yelp. That’s why it’s so important to act with class and dignity to try and put out any fires before they really take off. Apple could have blown Taylor Swift off, but they made all the right moves to help further solidify themselves as a top company.
The takeaway: if you’ve got a serious concern with a company, don’t be afraid to turn to social media. If you’re the defendant, don’t be afraid to throw it right back using the same medium!

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