For online reputation management, policing social media as well as review sites is key.
Social Media. It comes in many forms and platforms these days. Of course, there is Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and more. You can use social media in many ways. You can use it for business and your personal life.
We discussed awhile back how you can use social media to assist with generating content. Well, today, let's discuss how social media functions in reputation management. As well all know, the internet is full of review websites like Yelp or Angie's List. But, consumers can look beyond those sites for reviews as well as get a bird's eye view of a company's brand engagement and reputation management. Let's discuss a few possibilities.
1. Twitter. If you are even remotely active on Twitter, you will undoubtedly see people you follow corresponding with a brand. And, you will definitely see from time to time consumers blasting a brand for bad service or faulty products. You will see people giving props to companies who go above and beyond as well. If you are looking to work with a company you can do a Twitter search for the company name or Twitter handle. You can also ask your followers for any feedback about a company and/or product. Companies who are on Twitter need to take the time to monitor their brand, even if they resist the notion of regular tweeting. Chances are pretty good that a customer or potential client will take to Twitter about you at some point. It is key to respond and do so quickly. You do not have to have a public conversation, you can request a way to contact the individual to discuss the matter offline. I would expect though that if the outcome is not satisfactory that it will be Tweeted about again. Not having an official Twitter for your company or brand is not the answer either. People can still discuss you via hashtags or just by company name.
2. Facebook. Facebook is similar to Twitter in regards to brand engagement and, or reviews with one exception. On Facebook, a poster can be far more detailed, because they are not limited to 140 characters. A disgruntled customer can post screen shots of email correspondence, photos of broken products, and in some cases recording of a bad customer service call. Customers can either rave about a company or product to all their friends and family or they can totally beat it to the ground, sharing bad customer service with anyone willing to listen.
3. Instagram. Again, just because your company may not use Instagram does not mean that someone is not posting a picture or video of something related to your company or products and services. Any individual could be raving about them, encouraging all their followers to use your service or buy your products or on the flip-side they could be posting a warning to avoid at all costs. Picture testimonials are the rage. If someone posts photos of your product in action with appropriate hashtags, it can be either marketing gold or the kiss of death. If the review is positive the photo may be liked and seen by many. If it's a photo of a broken item, etc it could take off like wildfire.
4. Hashtags. Hashtags are free marketing at it's finest. But, they are not to be taken lightly. Hashtags are used equally across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. While a company can use hashtags in marketing campaigns to assist in gaining exposure, customers and disgruntled clients can also use them to tarnish are reputation. Bad reviews with corresponding hashtags can become a trending topic in seconds. Trending topics whether they be about a item, celebrity or athlete can take off and spin out of control pretty quickly. Brands are embracing the use of hashtags in commercials, print ads and even during TV shows. Hashtags allow people to find others who are talking about a topic quickly.
The lesson in all of this is that it is not only important to monitor your reviews on sites like Yelp, it is key to monitor social media as well. Just as companies can not afford to ignore mobile any more, they cannot and should not ignore social media anymore. And, for the business owners who say they are too busy for social media, it doesn't take hours to monitor but it could take forever to undo a social media disaster you found out about too late. Take a few minutes each day to do a social media checkup on your brand and products. See if people or customers are trying to find you or if they are discussing your products. Maybe they need your assistance or maybe they are giving you a glowing review. Social Media is just as important as review sites. It is time to monitor your reputation across all channels. Take sometime to add links to your social media profiles at minimum on your contact us page. Common practice has the corresponding social media icons in the top header or bottom footer on all pages of your company website. So, as your make sure your website is prepared for Googles switch to mobile tomorrow, also make sure your website has the appropriate links to find your company on social media.