Social Media Tips for Reputation Management (Video)
We’ve been hearing about the importance of word-of-mouth marketing since the advent of commerce itself, and it remains as valuable as ever. The difference is that today the conversation has moved online, and what customers say and hear about your brand on social media can make or break your brand reputation.
We caught up with 4 marketing experts to explore how brands use social media to improve their reputation management, online marketing and search engine rankings.
What are are your best tips to help a business with their reputation management online?
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How do brands brand develop an awesome online reputation by keeping people engaged?
People who have a connection with you online will bring their concerns to you more as a friend. —Stoney deGeyter
“It’s part of human nature to be critical—or at least more critical—towards people you don’t have a relationship or any direct involvement with. Social media, as an engagement platform, allows you to have more direct involvement with your audience, customers, and people who are interested in what you do and say. When you’re engaged online, you’ll find that people have a less critical attitude in general toward your brand or company.
At the same time, if there is a legitimate concern, you have a better opportunity to reach out in a friendlier way and have a manageable level of discourse rather than having to deal with the trolls who are just there to bash people. The people who have a connection with you will reach out to you more as a friend than rather than, ‘Hey, I have a complaint, and I’m going to trash you because I don’t know who you are.’ So maintaining your engagement online really helps.” —Stoney deGeyter
How can a brand be proactive in overcoming any negative feedback online?
Having a community that’s already there for us builds trust online. —Lindsay White
“Our biggest strategy, which has worked amazingly well for us, is to be extremely consistent with how we handle any negativity via social media. For instance, whenever someone has an issue, comment or question, we always respond very quickly and with the same answer. If they have an issue with a product, we acknowledge it and say, ‘Send us an email, and we’ll get this replaced.’ So then when someone new comes into the social media space with an issue, our fans are already there, and they already know how we respond. They will even respond for us and say, ‘Hey, this doesn’t sound like Lot801. You should send them an email, and they’ll probably replace it for you.’ So having a community that’s already there for us builds trust and helps create positive brand reputation for us.” —Lindsay White
What are the important tactical tips for what we can do on a daily or weekly basis to monitor our accounts?
You need a dedicated community manager who is ‘listening’ online and able to respond. — Dorien Morin
“For small- to medium-sized businesses, I think the biggest thing is to have a dedicated person for this, whether it’s someone in house or somebody like me who is a social media manager. This person acts as a community manager to ‘listen’ online, look at what happens on Twitter, put out a Google Alert on the company name or variations of the name, and so on. They should then be able to respond for the business owner, who is busy running the business itself. If they don’t allocate any marketing money or a dedicated person to that, it can very quickly escalate into a bad situation when a bad review comes in or somebody starts bashing a product or service on the Facebook page, for example. So the fact somebody is there monitoring and listening is very important.
With Google Alerts, you can get them sent to you as soon as an alert comes in. I have it sent to me in digest form once a day. Meanwhile, for businesses, I think if you Google your business name, you want to do it as often as once a week and make sure you’re incognito. I do this with my own children as well, because I have some teens going off to college. It’s personal branding as well as business branding, so make sure you’re Googling your own name, too.” —Dorien Morin
What do you tell brands that think they can just avoid the web altogether?
Nobody likes to talk when nobody’s listening—they’ll go to brands that are listening. —Stoney deGeyter
“The problem is that whether you are on the web or not, your audience is. So if you’re not there, they’re still going to write reviews about your products or say things about your brand name or your business. And if you’re not there, you’re basically just letting it go without addressing it.
The chatter is going to happen. The best opportunity is for you to also be there so you can work with that, whether it’s cleaning up messes that you see people are posting about or just engaging with your audience to build that relationship. You don’t want to create a situation where people are talking about you and you’re not paying attention. Nobody likes to talk when nobody’s listening—they’ll go to brands that are listening.” —Stoney deGeyter
What are your top two favorite networks to build a community of awesome fans?
Video content is going to be the biggest thing this year. —Lindsay White
“Instagram absolutely hands-down, especially now that they have video content. Video content is going to be the biggest thing this year along with visual content in general. While Facebook is always top of the list, Instagram is pretty close to Facebook if not overpassing it.” —Lindsay White
What online marketing tips would you teach a small business to earn good brand reputation online?
Social media profiles on multiple platforms is a quick, basically free way to improve rankings. —Dorien Morin
“Create a bunch of social profiles. A lot of small businesses that I find are only on Facebook, so I always explain to them that if they make a Pinterest account, a LinkedIn page and an Instagram account, those become ranked in search engines very quickly. So that’s one fast way to do it. And then getting some PR through stories written about them helps too. But a quick, basically free way to do it get a bunch of social media profiles, fill them out with the key words, and that very quickly ranks you.” —Dorien Morin
What tools do you use to monitor your online reputation?
Footprint Friday is a tool that makes it easy to check your Google results and see what others will see. --Josh Ochs
“There is a tool I developed with my staff that can help, too. Dorien mentioned searching for your name and variations of your name—sometimes first and last plus the city you’re in or the school your student goes to or whatever helps identify you—but doing that every day or every other day can get exhausting. So we’ve tried to make it easier with a tool called Footprint Friday.
Every Friday morning it emails you part of our newsletter including a Google-assisted email with all the buttons you want to fill in to help manage your brand presence and brand reputation. It goes to Google, and you can see the Google results that your customers, clients or those that want to work with your brand would see.” —Josh Ochs
How can a social media policy help organizations manage their online results?
Your social-media policy needs to establish clear expectations for your company online. — Dr. Bennet Hammer
It is very important for organizations to have a social media policy to establish how the business interacts with people online. There need to be very clear expectations for anyone who’s going to represent your company on social media. Also, keep your social-media policy up to date, making sure employees are educated on the newest programs and social networking sites and how your policy applies.
Otherwise, you take the risk of compromised productivity, brand reputation damage, data loss or employee behavior that doesn’t represent your company values. Any of these cases can lead to monetary or reputation loss, and even regulatory compliance fines depending on the industry you’re in.” - Dr. Bennet Hammer