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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.
This bundle includes two resources to help you manage your brand’s perception on social media effectively:
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:
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:
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.
Anyone in your staff complement who deals with customers, needs to be equipped with the right skills, like:
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.
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:
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.
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.
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:
A great example of social media standards is provided by HHS:
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:
Follow these seven steps, and you’ll be well on your way to effectively managing your brand’s reputation on social media.
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