Attainable and actionable tips for managing your small business' reputation on social media.
Social media is not going away.
Social media has created a myriad of ways for reputation to easily become undone, but it has also made it easier to manage reputation all together. For small businesses, reputation management may seem like no easy task, but social media is one communication channel that gives small businesses the same tools and opportunities as larger organizations to promote and engage with the public. The question is, does your small business see the value in seizing those same opportunities?
1.) Claim your profile before someone else does
Woody Allen famously said, “80 percent of success is just showing up.”
"Social media, first and foremost, is branding" (Buffer's Kevan Lee). At the very least you should have your business profile page claimed on most of the popular social networks. It's just good branding policy to make your logo as visible as possible.
By setting up an account and creating, or claiming, an existing profile of your business you:
- Safe guard against intentional or unintentional compromises to your business' brand reputation by others.
- Give yourself the option of using your name or handle on a social media network in the future.
- Make your business available for tagging so you can keep track of how your brand is talked about and discover if their is an audience that is seeking you out.
Not claiming your name or handle is leaving the door open to someone else claiming it. You don't want to look like a business that doesn't care about their image or is out-of-business. Claiming a profile is easy. The execution of a social media strategy can come later when you're ready.
2.) Keep track, keep tabs and keep up your social profiles
The first rule of reputation management is to listen. One way to let your reputation be defined by others is ignoring how people are talking about your business. It's not only careless it can be dangerous. Social media reviews, comments and posts about your business can be used in investigations by health inspectors, law enforcement and other officials, so it's in your best interest to find out about a bad experience before it reaches others first, especially news outlets. Social media is not only a medium for socializing and promotion, it's also an information medium that can disseminate news and information faster and farther than traditional news channels.
Create a Google Alert, do a quick search using Social Mention or invest in a social listening tool like Beacon. Keeping tabs is something you're doing in other areas of your business, why not keep tabs on social conversation about your business?
Don't forget to keep up your social profiles at least from a design perspective.
Make sure the information about your business and contact information is up-to-date and that your profile image and cover or header image look the way you intended. The dimensions of the cover and profile photo on Facebook and Twitter for instance have changed several times in the last years. A client I know had abandoned one of their social profiles and now their cover photo is unrecognizable; their name is no longer visible and their products are cropped out by the new template dimensions. So make sure to tend to your social profiles because how you show up is just as important as showing up on social media.
3.) Address negative reviews or negativity
In a time where 79% of people say they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, it would be unwise to underestimate the power of word-of-mouth on social media. Not addressing negativity immediately paints the picture of a business that doesn't care. Allowing reviews and comments to pile up only builds the case against your business, threatening your reputation and viability. If you care about your customers and clients, I recommend you develop a process for how to follow up to messages, comments, posts and reviews about your business on social media.
Think you're safe from negative reviews because you haven't created social profiles for your business? When people are looking to review a business or brand with no page Facebook for instance, Facebook auto-generates a page after someone types in the name in their review. Facebook's system creates a page based on either an established Wikipedia page or any public information searchable through the Google search engine. An auto-generated page is not a good look.
Believe it or not, no response is just as bad as a bad response.
Your customers or clients understand that mistakes happen, they make mistakes too, but what they need to see is how you react and fix those mistakes when they occur. You want to duplicate the offline experience of trying to make things right by being prompt and classy with your reactions on social media.
If you don't feel you have an audience on social media, if you don't see the value in social media whatsoever, at the very least do these three things so you don't let your reputation run away from you.
If you're not sure how to respond to negativity on social media and would like to seek counsel on how to go about developing a social media strategy for your business, at Geoffresh we offer both social media services as well as consulting services.