Online Reputation Marketing: 7 Solid Tips for Social Media
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You’ve probably heard it said that all brands should be on social media.
And while every company should build a strong presence online, using social media as a marketing channel can work against your online reputation if you don’t use it properly.
Here are seven brand-boosting tips you need to follow to get it right.
Download Your Online Reputation Marketing Templates
This bundle includes two resources to help you manage your brand’s perception on social media effectively:
- Social Media Crisis Plan Template: Know what to do and say before a crisis happens.
- Negative Comment Response Templates: Fill-in-the-blank templates to help you craft effective messaging that turns negative comments into opportunities to build trust.
What is Online Reputation Marketing?
Online reputation marketing refers to the strategy and tactics related to presenting your brand in the best possible light at all times. It involves promoting positive brand messaging, managing negative criticism responsibly, and more. This video explains in more detail:
1. Assign a Dedicated Person to Social Media
You may be surprised to learn that there are still many companies on social media who don’t assign a dedicated person to monitor activity.
As a result, comments and messages left by customers or prospective customers are often ignored.
This creates a double-edged sword: the person being ignored feels anger towards the brand, while people who check out your account gain the perception that you don’t care about your customers.
What actually happens, is that no one takes responsibility for responding because no one’s been assigned the task.
This makes people checking out the company nervous. Since online marketing is always about building trust, which results in sales, it will affect your bottom line when they decide to go to your competitor who does monitor their social media channels…
The company below sells laptops and books to students. Here, a student complains to them on their Facebook page, and 16 weeks later, has still not had a response from the brand:
The solution is to assign a dedicated person to monitor these activities:
- Uploading content
- Listening to customers
2. Give Authority to the Right Person
Many brands may put a dedicated person in charge of social media but neglect to give them the authority to take action, where necessary, to turn negative situations into positive ones.
Instead, many customer-facing employees are too afraid to make decisions that may earn them a stern rap on the knuckles or a loss of their job.
The person whose job it is to interact with customers or build positive public relations, needs to feel empowered and confident enough to make decisions which won’t result in negative consequences.
For example: a customer may complain on social media about their poor service experience.
Now, if the brand was in the wrong and made a big boo-boo that had the potential for a mass scale negative outcome, the customer-facing employee may weigh up the situation and decide to give something valuable, but free, to the disgruntled person.
When the negative situation is handled in a personalized manner and the complainer is given compensation (depending on the scenario), the situation is likely to do a 360 degree turn into fanatical delight, leading to the most powerful form of advertising: word of mouth.
When a customer-facing employee is not empowered or given authority to make decisions based on the situation, they are likely to be conservative in their response. Therefore, the opportunity to create a raving fan of your brand is lost.
3. Equip Team Members With the Right Skills
Anyone in your staff complement who deals with customers, needs to be equipped with the right skills, like:
- Interpersonal skills in the written word (the tone of voice used in responses, how to respond to positive as well as negative comments, and using wisdom when dealing with people digitally, especially because they can’t hear your tone of voice or pick up non-verbal clues on facial gestures).
- Dealing with angry customers (depending on your industry, you may do well hiring someone trained in counseling for this role).
- Handling negativity and knowing how to deal with each scenario.
People that are good at dealing with negativity usually possess a certain character because they pick up on subtleties that the majority of us would not usually pick up on.
They also need to be able to suss out a situation and based on the scenario, come up with a suitable, personalized solution.
4. Build an Online Reputation Marketing Strategy
Not online reputation marketing strategy will work if the foundation is not in place; it is vital to first understand your target audience.
And if you’re just starting out with social media marketing, it should be knowledge around your target audience which drives the decision as to which channels to focus on.
Build a social media strategy that’s based on the company vision and goals.
Your social media marketing strategy should support the overall vision of the company, because that will determine your content and present a unified message online and offline; both online and offline channels work together for a more powerful brand experience.
Your online reputation marketing strategy should include:
- The main messages you wish to convey, and which platforms will be most effective for each type of content. Bear in mind that your content should not be the same on all channels, because each platform is used for different purposes. For example, Twitter is used more for announcements while Facebook for entertainment and to keep in touch with friends and family. Your content has to fit into the goals of each channel because this impacts results.
- When to post which content. You may want to include seasonal and special days content which needs to be planned in advance. Also consider the best day and times to post.
- Consistency is key, so decide on a realistic amount of content per week based on how many times you are going to be posting. Also check how much content should be added for each channel. For instance, because Twitter is so fast paced, your best bet is to upload content up to 15 times a day, but do that on Facebook where your goal should be to post a maximum of twice a day, and you’re likely to get unfollowed at a rapid pace.
5. Educate Key Players About Online Reputation
Not only may your prospective clients look for what others are saying about your company brand online, but the higher the price range of your product or service means they’re likely to check out key players in your company too, because 76% of people trust what “normal” people are saying about a brand rather than what the brand is saying about the brand.
And so, what your employees, especially the higher profile ones, post online in a personal capacity, is something you need to think about seriously, because in addition to what they're saying about your brand, their personal discussions and tone of voice tell a story that potential clients are looking for in order to get a picture of how your brand operates.
The man who posted this on Facebook, is the founder of a small IT and marketing company, but as you can see, his writing needs some work. That would not be a big deal but for the fact that he’s advertising marketing of branded materials.
If you wanted marketing materials designed, and you were doing your research on this company before going with them, would this post make you decide to go with this company?
While people may not easily trust what the brand is saying and what the brand wants them to know, they will trust what your employees or partners are saying, and the character they present online paints a story about not only them but the culture of your company and what you stand for.
It’s worthwhile noting that depending on which industry you’re in, your key players may have followers that are connected to them via your brand. It would be wise to empower those employees with social media etiquette.
6. Ask Satisfied Clients for Recommendations
Your satisfied customers will hardly ever take the initiative to look for a way to recommend your services.
Ask satisfied clients to recommend your business, and make it easy for them to do so.
The idea is a) to build as much positivity as possible so that when a negative comment is made, it is only one of many comments, most of which are positive, and b) when potential customers are checking out your brand (and one of the first things many do during the pre-purchasing phase, is to check your social media pages), they can see what their peers are saying.
User generated content - when the customer creates the content and not the brand - is the superior way of advertising your brand, because “normal” people trust other “normal” people more than they trust your company’s marketing message.
7. Implement Standards
Everyone has their own perception of how social media should be managed, so to keep things consistent, it is strongly recommended that you implement social media standards, so that everyone in the company is on the same page.
Your standards should cover elements like:
- Who should approve social media posts before they’re uploaded?
- Which social media tools should be used?
- What are the rules regarding images and copyrights?
- What is allowed and what’s not?
- How should links be included?
- What other brands should be followed, and which ones should not?
- Must logos be included in images and what size should they be?
- What content is acceptable to be liked or commented on?
- How long should it take for the brand representative to respond to a message or comment?
A great example of social media standards is provided by HHS:
It's Time to Put Together Your Online Reputation Marketing Plan
Your digital reputation is everything, influencing business results not only in the digital sphere, but impacting the offline space as well, both either working together for or against your brand:
- Don't leave your social media platforms unattended. Be sure to monitor them.
- Give decision-making power to the person you put in charge of social media.
- Train your people in PR and customer service so that they know how to deal with negative situations.
- Don't post willy-nilly, but rather plan and strategize your content around the vision of your company.
- Teach employees how to conduct themselves professionally on social media, because their behaviour may impact your online reputation.
- Build positive feedback as far as possible, making sure you ask satisfied customers for recommendations.
- Implement social media standards to that everyone's on the same page.
Follow these seven steps, and you'll be well on your way to effectively managing your brand's reputation on social media.
April 20, 2020