By now you probably realize (I hope) what a key role social media can play in helping you build and promote brand recognition.
But social media can do even more than that! It’s also a vital tool for keeping your reputation shiny at a time when anyone can take to the internet and write a scathing report of their interactions with you – whether fair or not.
Critical media reviews, embarrassing news reports and unhappy customers with an ax to grind all can create online headaches for you, leaving your reputation in shambles. When prospective customers or clients type your name into a search engine, they are greeted by all that negativity and may decide that it’s best to take their business elsewhere.
But you don’t have to just sit there and take it. You can strike back, not with cruel jabs of your own, by the way, but by letting your social media tell a better, more positive and more captivating story about you and your brand.
How do you go about that?
I asked EMSI’s senior social media strategist, Jay York, to share with you a few tips for using social media to manage your online reputation:
- Have a varied social media presence. This is basic, but critical. You should maintain a number of social media channels, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and others. The more you are out there, the greater the odds that when someone Googles you or your business, your social media will show up on the first page of search results instead of someone’s negative assessment of you. And because of how social media is used more like a search engine, it provides a direct route to your website that can steer people away from anything adverse that’s been posted about you on the internet.
- Show the personality of your business. Social media, when used right, can change people’s perspective about you and your business. They read something negative, but then they visit your Facebook page or they follow you on Twitter and what they encounter is very different from what the critics are saying. They see upbeat messages. They read helpful responses to questions. They encounter someone with a sense of humor. Social media platforms become another avenue to help you build your credibility, and by allowing the personality of your business to shine through, you have an opportunity to entertain, enthrall and eventually win over those potential customers who might have gone running in the opposite direction.
- Respond to negativity with grace. The internet in general and social media in particular allows people to say whatever is on their minds about you and your business – and it may not always be pleasant. You could respond in fiery fashion with a barrage of insults. But that’s definitely not a good idea! Instead, maintain a professional image and be helpful rather than antagonistic with your critics. Your response should display a willingness to try to fix the problem, make good on someone’s bad experience or at least express a little sympathy to the person’s point of view. Other customers and potential customers are watching and they want to know how you’ll handle it when something goes wrong.
The negative doesn’t have to win the day. When handled correctly, your social media becomes an ally that will help you repair any dings your reputation suffers in the online world.
But to accomplish that you should make sure those social media accounts are being managed well and, if you don’t have the time, that someone is responsible for regularly posting new and engaging content, and interacting with the public’s comments or questions.
After all, you don’t want your good name to lose its luster.
P.S. If you need professional help with your social media efforts, give us a call at 727-443-7115 ext. 215.