How To Protect Your Brand’s Reputation On Social Media
Social media has definitely changed the way businesses engage with their customers. Furthermore, it has made a brand’s reputation even more consumer-led than it ever was before. With the huge number of platforms where online users can post comments about your brand, it may be safe to say that social media can indeed make or break your business. So, how can you make sure your brand is well-protected from being broken by social media? Read on for some very useful tips.
Social Media Policy
Just like you should have a commenting policy on your blog, the important first step towards protecting your brand’s reputation on social media is to have a social media policy in place even before you launch your very first social media campaign. In general, your policy should contain guidelines on what you consider acceptable in terms of using social media. It should address social media use of both the company and your individual employees because whether you like it or not, your employees’ manner of using social media can affect your business to a certain extent. You should also make sure your policy encompasses social media as a whole, instead of just focusing on Facebook and Twitter. Of course, you need to communicate this policy to your staff and provide the necessary training to your social media manager and his or her team.
User-generated content is among the most important things you should monitor on your social media pages. Bear in mind that there has been a landmark case where a business was held liable for comments users made on their social media pages. The case happened in Australia, but you never know when the same ruling will be applied in your locality, so it’s best to stay on the safe side. Besides, even if the law doesn’t pose any problem where user-generated content is concerned, you should still monitor such content for brand reputation purposes. After all, a user could post something on your pages that can easily ruin your brand unless immediate action is taken. Needless to say, immediate action can only be taken if user-generated content is well-monitored.
Other than user-generated content, you should also closely monitor how social media users use your brands and you should take the necessary steps to ensure legal protection for your trademarks. Social media platforms are laden with fake usernames and pages, so vigilance is a must. You need to make sure all accounts and pages bearing your brand’s name are fan pages (a definite plus for your business) rather than infringers of your intellectual property rights. Furthermore, you should also keep up with brand mentions on social media to make sure you can engage more effectively with your audience. The good news is that there are online tools that make social media monitoring a lot easier.
Mention – The TNW French Startup Awards recently listed this tool as a nominee in the category of “Startup of the Year,” which definitely speaks well of its usefulness. The tool allows you to create alerts for relevant keywords so you can monitor not only your brand mentions, but also those of your competitors and the industry as a whole. Even better news is that you get the alerts in real time and you can access the tool either from your desktop or your iPhone.
Viralheat – This tool has been continually developed over the years and is now considered as one of the most sophisticated social monitoring and management tools available. For purposes of monitoring, you can use the tool to simultaneously monitor two profiles each on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and the web as a whole. You can even use the tool to compare relevant terms or search profiles on social media so you can compare social buzz among your own products or compare mentions of your own brand with those of your competitors.
Sysomos – This tool provides social media monitoring capabilities across the web and also allows you to import data from Google Analytics. Among its key features are data visualization and something known as a buzzgraph. The buzzgraph allows you to identify the root of relevant user conversations or discover new conversations that originated from old ones so as to gain a better understanding of the factors that influence said conversations.
Sprout Social – This tool can be useful for both social monitoring and management purposes. Perhaps the biggest drawback of Sprout Social tool is that it only allows you to monitor brand mentions on Facebook and Twitter. However, it does have a feature that allows you to monitor mentions on the web from sources such as news sites and blogs. The tool even has a mobile version you can access on your iPhone or Android phone.
Net Promoter Score – This is a relatively simple yet powerful tool that gives you an idea as to how satisfied your customers are with your products and/or services. When you use the NPS, a single survey question, “How likely are you to recommend (company name/brand/product name) to your family/friends/colleagues?” will be sent to your target responders. Respondents will then be categorized as Promoters (score of 9-10), Passives (score of 7-8), or Detractors (score of 0-6). The difference between your Promoter and Detractor percentages will then be computed to reflect your NPS. Naturally, you’ll want to maintain a positive NPS and make adjustments in case you get a negative NPS.
As mentioned above, immediate action needs to be taken when user-generated content or negative feedback threatens to ruin your brand’s reputation. However, you should also make sure the action taken is the right one. You may think the best way to deal with negative comments and content is to delete them as soon as possible, but that’s not necessarily the case. In fact, there have been several cases wherein deleting this kind of posts only made matters worse for the company in question. Again, this may get you into trouble as regards advertising law and even if it doesn’t, it will certainly give the impression that you don’t really care what your audience has to say; you simply want to look good.
Another “immediate action” you need to avoid is that of arguing with your audience. This may seem like a matter of common sense, but a number of businesses have actually fallen into this trap. Be very careful you don’t do the same. What you and your team need to do is take a step back for a few minutes and craft a measured response to let the complainant know his sentiments are acknowledged and something is being done about the issue. If there’s offensive content that absolutely needs to be removed, be sure to explain clearly why it is being removed. For complex issues, it may be best to contact the other party directly and arrange a meeting.
The tips and tools discussed above should get you started in ensuring that your brand’s reputation is always protected even as you continue working on your social media campaigns.