Starting today, take control of your company’s online image with some savvy social marketing.
By Lucas Miller
Social media is much more than a place for your business to post ads and promotions. As the name implies, social media is meant to be, well, social. That means your followers are going to want to engage with your brand, leaving comments and reviews, asking questions and more.
Due to the high volume of these interactions that occur on platforms like Facebook and Instagram, social media ultimately becomes a major part — if not the primary focus — of your company’s digital reputation management.
By taking a proactive approach to managing your business’ reputation on social media, you can build a stronger relationship with your clients and generate positive word of mouth for your brand. Here’s how.
1. Track conversations about your brand
Countless conversations are taking place on social media. The vast majority of these probably won’t have any bearing on your business. So how can you find the conversations that do involve your brand?
Many companies use social listening tools to ensure they never miss a conversation about their company. Tools like HootSuite or Sprout Social allow brands to track branded keywords (including when the brand name hasn’t been tagged or @mentioned), as well as specific hashtag uses.
Rather than searching through social media manually, such tools provide direct notifications when a conversation about your brand is taking place. This lets you gauge the overall sentiment surrounding your brand, while also providing opportunities to step in and engage directly with customers.
For example, the Nike Service Twitter account is fully focused on responding to customer support issues — both individually and by addressing broad support trends. These personalized interactions build goodwill toward the brand, while also making customers more likely to engage in the first place.
Of course, such interactions should always remain true to your brand identity. Being friendly and positive is always a plus when engaging on social media, but don’t be afraid to include a little sass (like Wendy’s) if that’s part of your brand’s personality.
2. Respond to every comment and review
Social platforms are often where customers go to share their experience with your brand, and if they’re leaving reviews, you absolutely must respond.
In an interview for automotive lead-generation platform AutoLeadStar’s Inside Auto Podcast, Steve Pearson of Friendemic advises, “Making sure that every single comment, every single review is read and acknowledged or addressed … that’s a super important part of running any business today. There’s so much more information transparency for consumers in terms of product and pricing. How do you differentiate today’s local business? A lot of it comes down to that customer service and that reputation.”
By responding to customer reviews, brands can demonstrate their commitment to customer service while also creating a positive narrative — even when responding to a negative review. A positive, personalized response can go a long way in shaping the narrative.
A positive response that addresses the user’s concern or complaint demonstrates to others who might read the review that your company takes such issues seriously. Even better, a 2020 survey by ZenBusiness found that 30% of reviewers will update their criticism after their problem is resolved by the company.
Conversely, the same study found that 65% of those who left negative reviews on social would stop doing business with a company if it didn’t respond to their feedback. If you want to protect your reputation and avoid losing customers, responding to social comments is clearly an absolute must.
3. Highlight positive reviews through owned channels
Responding to negative reviews is one thing, but the positive reviews and testimonials that customers leave through your social channels can also provide ample fuel for your reputation management efforts.
Notably, millennials have been found to trust user-generated content 50% more than content produced by brands. A positive review serves as a real, personalized account of what it is like to use your company’s products or services. This content is far more persuasive to potential customers and does more to establish your reputation than anything you could ever say.
In addition to thanking customers for their positive reviews, you should try to maximize this content across platforms. Highlight these positive experiences on Facebook or Twitter posts. B2B brands that do more intensive work for their clients could even produce a case study, or collaborate with the client who left the review to create a video testimonial to share on social.
These reviews can (and should) come from any platform, be it Google, Facebook or even Yelp. They can be used to highlight the work of an individual employee or to showcase the quality of your services. Most importantly, they allow you to harness social media so that the first review someone sees of your business is one that you would want them to see.
Ninety-three percent of customers now look at online reviews as part of their purchasing decision, and a lot of those reviews are going to be found on your social media pages. By taking a proactive approach to reputation management, you can ensure that you’re making the right impression on prospective customers.
With quality reputation management, you control the narrative surrounding your brand, ensuring great results and actual growth.