All businesses – large and small – must be aware of the importance of online reputation management. If you are active online, your reputation can be enhanced positively, or compromised in an instant.
Be Selective – Choose Social Media Carefully
The number of social media platforms is astounding. Be careful in making your choices because each one takes precious time out of your schedule to maintain. Decide how many platforms you can manage without eating up an inordinate amount of time. I recommend no more than three or four, unless you have a staff member who can manage them for you. Be sure to choose social media sites where your targeted market hangs out and create a plan for using the sites effectively.
Once you have selected your social media sites, spend some time on each one daily. It is a good idea to check at least once a day – more often, if possible. The more you interact with your audience through social media, the more others will engage with you. Just be sure you don’t make social media the main focus of your day.
Learn from the Pros
One of the easiest and best ways to learn how to use social media is to follow the successful brands (the pros). How do they engage their audiences and promote their businesses using social media? Follow their lead. “Borrow” their methods. Don’t waste time trying to come up with your own, when you have examples of proven strategies?
Stake Your Claims
Search directories on social media sites, e.g. Google Places and Yelp. If you find your business listed, claim it. Also, check the information to be sure that it accurately reflects your business. Monitoring directory sites for new reviews should be part of your regular social media routine.
Use Social Media Alerts
Some social media sites offer alerts. If offered, take advantage and sign up. There are also Online services that offer alerts, as well. Check out this article: 10 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools.
Alerts let you know when people are talking about you, your business, or things related to your business.
You can also do a manual search on social media sites with hashtags.
Be Prepared for Social Media Disasters
Mistakes are made and disasters happen – so be prepared. What will you do if you or someone on your team sends out an unfortunate tweet or Facebook update? Such a mistake can be extremely damaging to your company if you do not respond well.
Establish clear protocols for you (and your employees if you have them) to deal with disasters. To get started, read this article from Inc.com: How to Bounce Back From a Social Media Disaster.
Respond to Negative Feedback
There is always the possibility that you will get a negative comment on social media. It is critical to respond quickly. Never ignore the comment hoping that no one will notice. DO NOT let it stand unaddressed for any period of time.
Address the problem as soon as possible. If the person is misinformed, look for ways to provide correct information. If the individual is an unhappy customer, find a way to make the individual happy.
The written word is much less forgiving that the spoken word because it stands on its own. There is no body language, speech inflection, or facial expressions to soften or put context around your words. All you have are words and the tone – be sure they are friendly.
Do not let people get to you. Never lose your cool on social media. People may frustrate you, make you angry, or annoy you. When they do, take your time in responding. In fact, write your response and let it sit for a while – then, reread, adjust, and send. Your “brand” is on the line. The worst thing you can do for your company is to lose your temper on social media.
Use Social Proof to Strengthen Your Reputation
The choices people make are continually pushing or pulling you to do or not do certain things. This is an inescapable force that influences your behaviors. Members of any society have a pack mentality to some degree. What others do . . . we will often also choose to do.
That is why testimonials from happy customers work. They are social proof that a product/service met expectations – and more.
Others types of social proof are recommendations to friends by satisfied customers. You should also invite happy customers to leave good reviews for you on review sites.
The goal is to build up lots of positive comments about your company online. Not only will it help drive traffic to your Website and/or blog, it will offset any negative comments you may get
Offer Help With No Strings Attached
Offer free, valuable products to your customers, your social media connections, and website visitors. This is an surefire way to enhance your reputation. People will recognize that your company wants to help with no strings attached – not just make sales. This is an important step in online reputation management.
©Blurtigo Holdings, LLC