When used strategically, social media is a powerful tool for building brand awareness, credibility, and a positive reputation. A positive social media reputation is critical to maintaining success in your business. It sets a standard of credibility among customers and builds trust needed to support growth.
With social media, you can track, monitor, and steer the reputation of your brand online. However, to manage your social media reputation successfully, there are some guidelines to follow.
Listen to Conversations About Your Brand
Before you can determine actions steps about building your brand reputation online, you have to already know what your current reputation is. This requires you to engage in social listening.
And before you can listen, you need to know what you are listening for. Here are some suggestions on what you should be listening for:
- Your company name – set up a regular search for the mention of your company name. This will automatically offer you conversations about your brand.
- Your products and services – if your products and/or services have a different name than your company, monitor mentions of those terms too. For example, you own a beverage company called “Drink” and your most popular beverage is named “Fizz Cola.” You should be monitoring mentions of both “Drink” and “Fizz.”
- High profile employees – does anyone in your firm have name recognition? Monitor what people are saying about public figures in your company too.
Use Monitoring Tools
Once you know what you are going to focus on when listening to social media conversations, you’ll need to get help from the right tools. The proper social media monitoring tool can make a big impact in managing your online social reputation.
Nobody wants to sit staring at social media feeds all day hoping to get a glimpse of a brand mention – plus that isn’t effective anyway. Social media monitoring tools do the work for you – and they do it more effectively than you can.
Here are some of those Monitoring Tools:
- Google Alerts -This tool is super simple and super effective. With Google Alerts you can set up reoccurring searches for key terms – company name, employee names, competitors, industry keywords, etc. – and Google will send you an email alert anytime these terms get a new mention online.
- Trackur – While Google Alerts are great, the tool doesn’t have access to all the content popping up in social media. That’s where a tool like Trackur comes in handy. This affordable platform allows you to put in key terms and builds reports to help you get a comprehensive picture of your brand’s online reputation.
- SocialMention – This free tool offers a picture of what is being said online right now. Type in any keyword to the tool and receive a list of recent mentions.
Respond Promptly to Questions and Comments
Consumers expect to be able to communicate directly and quickly with brands on social media. If you miss a mention or compliant, it could spiral into negative consequences for your brand. That’s why social media monitoring is so important.
Once you have set up a system for listening and monitoring your brand’s online reputation, the next step is to build a system for replying. Determine what the action steps will be to respond to different scenarios of a brand mention – good or bad.
If it’s a customer service issue, responding quickly is critical to defusing the situation. Even if you can’t solve the problem immediately, respond to the mention to let the customer know they have been heard.
Things you need to have in place:
- A set of guidelines for responding to messages and mentions
- Best practices for resolving negative feedback
- A set of action steps to take corrective action
To achieve a positive social media brand reputation, transparency is critical. Consumers have become hypersensitive to dishonest brands. Social media has peeled back the veil on companies and consumers expect the truth.
A policy of full transparency is foundational to building a positive reputation and trust. Practice honest communication in your social media interactions. If something negative arises, don’t try to cover up your mistakes by deleting comments left by customers who have issues with your product or service. Doing this will portray you as a dishonest brand. Instead, address the problem fully and show your followers that you are a transparent brand.
Encourage Customers to Leave Reviews
Reviews for almost any business are easy to find online and consumers read them to determine the quality of a company’s products or services. According to research, 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
Positive reviews are a great tool that can help convert customers which are early in the buying cycle. So take advantage of them and encourage your customers to leave reviews.
Just as with negative comments, you shouldn’t delete negative reviews. It might seem counterintuitive, but having only positive reviews on your website might seem too good to be true. Consumers actually expect to see some negative reviews.
At the end of the day, your social media reputation is inseparable from your brand. Take care of it by listening, monitoring, and responding in a thoughtful, strategic way.