Emma-Julie Fox writes for Pitstop Media, a Vancouver based SEO company Pitstop Media has been helping businesses across North America successfully increase their search visibility. If you want to invite the author to guest post on your blog please www.pitstopmedia.com
Today, everything’s on the Internet and everyone turns to the Internet as their first source when looking for any kind of information. In this age of digitally accessible information, with most of your customers being net-savvy enough to look you up on the World Wide Web, the term social reputation is becoming increasingly relevant.
The former’s Facebook administrator made a snarky comment in response to protests against Nestlé’s contract with a Palm Oil Company (that according to Greenpeace was responsible for the destruction of Indonesian rainforests). The comment backfired and led to an embarrassing social media fiasco for the company.
Kenneth Cole, on the other hand, made a rather insensitive comment about riots in Egypt, leading to a huge social media uproar. Using trending hash tags on Twitter and linking them to tweets is a popular social media strategy, Kenneth Cole, used the strategy rather unwisely. They ended up linking their new collection to ‘Cairo’, while people were using the hash tag to discuss the Cairo riots. Obviously, the result wasn’t pleasant.
These are just a couple of Big Boys’ goof ups, many small businesses too have made social media bloopers that have either dented their reputations or eaten into their ROI.
To make sure you don’t fall into the same trap, it’s a good idea to keep the following tips in mind while drafting and implementing your social media strategy:
1. Build yourself an online presence on the most appropriate social networks: There are a number of social networks out there, and if recent trends are any indicators, expect a few more to crop up every couple of years. While social media is important, you need not go all out and have active accounts for your business on all the social networks. Instead, select the ones that are most suited for your business.
For instance, a brand that wants to be associated with good parenting and baby care may not benefit much from a LinkedIn presence. The most appropriate social networks for such a brand would probably be Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
2. Keep your ears and eyes open for anything that pops up about your business: Ensure that you not only spend time-sharing information via social media, but also monitor any news, discussions, etc. about your business. This way, you get to stay on top of anything that’s being said about you and can take necessary action immediately.
The following are some simple strategies that will help you do the same:
1) Set up a Google Alert for your business/brand name
2) Track all the mentions of your brand on twitter by monitoring your ‘@connect’ daily
3) Follow top review sites in your niche. For instance, if you run a hospitality business, keeping track of what’s being said about you on TripAdvisor.com is essential.
4) Twitter tools like Twilert and SocialOomph too can help you keep track of what’s being said about your business through daily e-mails.
3. Create positive news: Leverage social media as a PR tool and spread any good news about your business – be it your latest offerings or any good reviews you’ve received from your satisfied customers. Make sure your fans and followers hear about it and spread the word.
The following are the top strategies for doing the same:
I. Create blog post about it, add an attractive picture and share the post on your social networks and sharing sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, etc. Remember not to go overboard with promotional content here though, or you may end up putting off your readers.
For instance, let’s say you’ve won an Industry award, instead of writing a post bragging about the award, you may create one on ‘How To Get Recognized In Your Niche’ and use your award as the case study.
II. Create a project with the published blog’s URL on Viral Content Buzz. This is a free to use website that encourages members to share each other’s links on their social networks in exchange of credits. The credits that members earn can then be used to create projects to share their own content.
So, when you create a project for your blog post, you will be asked to assign a certain amount of credits to it. These credits will then be awarded to members who share your content. Now, the only way you can assign credits to your project is by sharing other members’ content and earning credits.
4. Stay updated about general trends within your industry: It’s important not just to know about anything that is being said about you, but also about your industry in general.
Peruse the latest business news and keep yourself updated about all the current events that could have an impact on you and/or your competitors. You may use free tools like Google Alerts, Twilert and SocialOomph, etc, to get daily updates focused on specific industry related keywords.
5. Be Gracious and Humble: Take the time out to go through comments or posts you may have received from your customers. If you come across any negative feedback, make sure you act on it and resolve the issue before an unhappy customer turns into an angry one.
Don’t ignore comments on your posts – when you frequently respond to them, you’re showing that you care about your customers by making time to interact with them.
It’s also important to take the higher ground when customers turn abusive, or unreasonable. Snarky comments, ignoring complaints, or worse still deleting them could backfire on you. The best approach is to respond to a customer complaint courteously, request them to discuss the same with you over e-mail or phone. The sooner you take an uncomfortable conversation offline, the better.
6. Think Before You Post: Be very careful about what you say on your social media profile. This means:
a) Unless, you know what a trending topic is about do not include the hashtag in your tweet.
b) If you are posting pictures from a third party source on your Facebook profile, provide appropriate attributions, or you run the risk of being banned by Facebook.
c) Stick to clean humor; avoid making jokes that your fans may find offensive.
d) Don’t get snarky or sarcastic with fans/followers in your tweets and posts.
e) Don’t send spammy promotional messages to your followers. Toyota did something similar during Superbowl and the campaign fell flat on its face.
With immense power, comes immense responsibility, clichéd as it may sound, the adage should be your guiding principle for your social media marketing campaigns. As powerful as social media maybe, it can backfire, if you are careless in your handling.