How are you perceived online?
Social media has become the place where brands are born and buried.
Social media strategies, processes, community building, and online reputation plans are no longer a “nice to have”. They can make or break you, and the influence it carries is only going to increase.
If you don’t control the narrative, someone else will.
People already have an opinion or perception of your brand, but is it what you want it to be? Use your social media pages to bring value to your customers. Post, comment, share, add videos, use graphics, like, respond, and add photos. Be engaging, likable, sincere and entertaining while you educate, inform, and share. Let customers and future customers get to know you the way you want to be known.
Set up Google alerts for your brand. You’ll get emails when your brand shows up in new search results for things like news articles, blogs, web pages, or scientific research. Do a search on your brand regularly on each social media platform and search engines to see what is being said. If you can, use social media monitoring tools. If someone else is spreading information about your brand, you want to know.
Social media monitoring tools are valuable in several ways.
See what people are saying (even if they don’t tag you) based on keywords, locations, and hashtags.
Find out what specific users are saying about the brand.
Analyze the data to understand who you’re reaching and what the sentiment of your brand is.
Track several review sites to see new reviews about your brand.
Send out timely surveys to customers to gather feedback and understand your team’s performance.
Leverage the data from these tools.
Learn about and quickly address any issues.
Thank customers for sharing positive comments about your business.
Share testimonials online so that when people search for your business they can easily read about real experiences with your company. Don’t forget to use social media sites for sharing these. When people do online searches your social media sites are showing up. Make sure they convey how likable and trustworthy you are.
Not everything should be automated.
People are looking for human interaction and having a sincere person helping or thanking them earns a lot of trust for the brand. If you are an expert in your industry, share thoughts on LinkedIn and other platforms that could benefit other people. Also, make sure to engage with other users on the site through positive and helpful comments. This also helps bring recognition to your company.
Build a community.
Create an online group or community and share best practices, offer help, and encourage members to engage and network with each other so that everyone gets value from the group. Have an online community manager (or many) who loves people, loves the brand, can create relevant content, effectively answer questions, and who can articulate back to the company any positive feedback, trends, or issues that need to be addressed.
Post what your audience wants to see, not just what you want to say.
Not sure what to post? Think of who your target audience is. How can you help them? What types of things do they want to know? What images resonate with them? What makes them smile?
Here’s a short list of the types of content you can share:
Tips or best practices.
Top 10 lists.
Updates on what’s happening at the company.
Positive feedback about other companies you’ve used (vendors, software, apps, local restaurants, etc.).
Highlight someone in your organization that is doing something that represents the company well.
Highlight someone who isn’t in your organization that you think is doing a great job at something.
Events you’ve hosted or attended.
Awards you’ve won and appreciation for those who helped you receive it.
Thoughts on trends.
Entertaining graphics, photos, or videos.
Links to other posts or articles you found valuable.
Your people are also your brand.
Remember those top performers or leaders that companies once thought they couldn’t live without so they tolerated their bad behavior? Those people are now one of your biggest risks.
Putting your head in the sand won’t work when someone’s bad behavior is talked about on social media. The public isn’t likely to care that they generate a certain amount of revenue for the company or have special skills or talents. So if you tolerate the bad behavior or keep unethical leaders, you make it easy for people to think that type of behavior is acceptable at your company and they’ll take their business somewhere else. And that’s one of the less damaging outcomes. Another possible and far worse outcome would be the public deciding to take what they’ve heard about your employee and share it enough that it goes viral and causes boycotts that cripple, if not destroy, your business.
You also have those loved employees that represent your vision of the company and culture. Empower them to represent you even when they are off the clock. Post content on your company page that they would want to share. Give them a hashtag to use. Build an online content library that your employees can use for their own social media posts that includes graphics or quotes that are branded and other fun content. Create an online store for your employees with branded merchandise and gadgets. Set it up so that they can purchase these cool items with points that they earn when caught representing the company’s values in the office, outside the office, and online. You’ll earn their love and loyalty, have your logo on the streets and online in a ton of new places, and your positive reputation will reach new recruits, new customers, and new partners.
If strategic social media hasn’t been a top priority for your organization, I hope this changes that. I hope you’ll put a plan together and be able to leverage all the beautiful opportunities of growth and success that social media can give you.