Every business, no matter how big or small, must maintain their brand through reputation management. One way to manage a business reputation is through an active social media presence. There are many benefits to having a social presence for your business which I discussed in a previous blog post, Benefits of Social Media for Businesses, but I’d like to dive deeper into the topic of reputation management.
More and more people are looking online before making a purchase, 70% of people who look for reviews online trust posts by friends and family while 90% trust reviews from other consumers. From a B2B point of view – 42% of people look up the people that they are going to do business with and 45% of people learned something from searching online which changed their minds. (Source: SocialMedia Today)
Below are a few tips to help you understand the process of using social media as a reputation tool:
1. Own Your Message
The first and most important step in reputation management with social media is to create and claim all of the pages for your business across various channels, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Foursquare, to name a few. Creating a consistent message throughout all of your social pages will not only help to establish a brand image but also affect your search results, increasing SEO. These pages should focus more on creating a brand voice and less on selling your products/services.
2. Listen Closely
Every social media user has the power to affect your brand’s online reputation. The reach of a single tweet or Facebook comment can extend beyond a user’s circle of influence within a matter of minutes. Social platforms are designed to move in real-time which can be great for spreading a positive message to fans, but can also backfire when a negative comment goes viral. The best way to catch these moments is to implement social listening. Social listening involves monitoring mentions of keywords within the internet. These keywords should be related to your brand. Below are a few ideas for monitoring your online reputation.
- Brand name
- Specific product or service names
- Website URL
- Questions related to your service offerings
3. Embrace Positives
Once you begin social listening based on relevant keywords, you will discover new insights into how your audience views your brand. Some will be good and some will be bad, let’s focus on the good first. It seems like a no brainer that you should be reaching out to any customer having an issue with your business, but what about happy customers? Don’t get too caught up in the negative, you should also engage with satisfied customers. The goal of social media is to build a relationship with your customers. Acknowledging positive social mentions will only help to create brand advocates who are essential to a successful social strategy.
4. Address Negatives
A recent survey reported that 22% of people who have had a bad experience are likely to comment about it online while only 9% of people who have had a good experience will do the same. Don’t worry, happy tweets and 5 star reviews aren’t the only ways to improve your reputation through social media. When a user shares a negative experience with your company, they create the perfect opportunity for you to not only change their opinion, but any other user who views the interaction. Never ignore or delete a negative post, you should engage with the user and start a conversation. Let them know you understand their issue and address whatever problems they are having. Although giving away gift cards to unhappy customers can be an effective strategy, you do not always need to reward a bad review. Most users will be happy to hear that their comments were heard and that your company values them enough as a customer to take responsibility and right any wrong.
(Source: Media Bistro)