When it comes to your online reputation, perception is reality. Here are some smart social media reputation management tips and thoughts on why it matters.
Using social media for business is like flirting with a double-edged sword.
With a good social media reputation, your business will enjoy higher search engine rankings, increased customer engagement and gain up to 25 percent more value. A bad reputation, however, can make your business a laughingstock and send customers away.
What's more, it's very easy to damage a social reputation that took you years to build. A single ill-advised tweet or a Facebook post is enough to smear your brand's online image.
It's for this reason you must invest in social media reputation management. Here is how to go about it.
Be on Social Media-But Not on Every Platform
There are over 100 social networks you can join to build and expand your digital presence. The temptation to try them all (or as many as possible) and see what works and doesn't work for your business is always rife, but don't fall for it.
The logic behind this is simple: the more social networks you join, the more the fires you'll have to put out should things go south. And it takes more resources to manage all the accounts.
As such, the first step to hacking social media reputation management is to be active on social sites that are meaningful to your business. As a standard, you're certainly already on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Maybe LinkedIn, too.
If you're looking to join more sites, evaluate whether they will help you reach a new audience. Do they offer any new, innovative tools for managing content and increasing audience engagement? If not, you're better off not signing up.
Lack of Social Activity Dents Your Reputation
Sometimes it looks like businesses and social media have a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" kind of relationship.
If your business isn't on social media, your customers will start wondering whether the Information Age somehow left you behind. If you join but don't stay active, consumers will mock you for it. And if you get social but your activity leads to a blunder, expect the same lot to roast you.
So, what are you to do?
Easy. Sign up with your preferred social media sites, and post quality content regularly.
Yes, with lots of social activity comes the risk of making a costly mistake, but that's a risk you can manage by ensuring your marketing team adheres to a strict social media policy. What will harm your reputation, for certain, is a lack of social activity.
When you neglect your social media accounts, you're denying potential customers access to your business. In a world where 84 percent of consumers now expect businesses to respond to their queries or complaints on social media within 24 hours, are you doing your brand any favors by keeping its accounts dormant?
Run a Business Blog
The powers of a business blog are well-documented. From boosting your SEO efforts to establishing your business as an industry authority and connecting people to your brand, a blog is an essential tool for businesses.
Did you also know a business blog is good for social reputation management? Here is how that works.
While most social networking platforms offer powerful marketing and promotion tools, you don't have complete control over your content and zero control over other users' content. This means a social site can take down your content if it violates its guidelines. There is also little you can do if another user leaves negative comments--even if maliciously--on your pages.
On your blog, however, you have complete control over content. You can, for instance, moderate users' comments as necessary. This gives you an opportunity to clean up negative content.
Plus, a blog is ideal for releasing official company updates. When in the middle of a social media storm, you can always issue a response through your blog. In most cases, this is better than issuing a response on social media where knives could still be out.
Engage Social Listening Tools
To stay on top of your social media reputation management, you need to know what people are saying about your brand.
Yet, the world of social media is so vast and rapid, keeping track of your mentions can be a challenge. There are social media users who tweet about your business without tagging your Twitter handle, Facebook users who comment about your products in other brand's pages... you catch the drift.
The good news is you can use social listening tools to "eavesdrop" on conversations involving your business or its products and services. You'll catch any negative comments or reviews in real time and take appropriate action. This resource has excellent tips for managing negative online reviews.
Hire a Social Media Reputation Management Pro
As a business owner, you have little time to devote to social media management. In fact, you might not have the expertise to manage your business' digital reputation.
When this is the case, hiring a social media reputation expert is a smart move. Although hiring one (or outsourcing the task to a reputation management agency) will add to your marketing overhead, you'll rest easy knowing a professional is always working to ensure your business maintains a positive reputation. In the event of a social media crisis, you'll count on the expert to put out the fires.
A Good Name Is Good for Business--Maintain It
In business, as in life, fewer things are as precious as a good name. In business, though, the stakes are higher. A slight slip of the keyboard is enough to cause a social media storm that can expose your business to massive losses.
But armed with the social media reputation management tips fleshed out in this article, you're now in a better position to build and maintain a solid online presence. In addition, we encourage you to keep tabs on our social media section for the latest tips.