How to Manage Your Reputation Over Social Media

Manage Your Social Media
Five practical tips for protecting your brand on networking sites.
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1. Acknowledge Errors

If you make a small mistake in a post or tweet, such as a spelling error, and you catch it quickly, delete the post and repost with the corrected spelling. However, if the post has some engagement on it, or if you tag the wrong company, delete it and repost while owning up to the mistake in a pithy, lighthearted tone. Audiences like to see brands that have an authentic, self-deprecating side. Acknowledging the error shows you’re not too proud to admit there are imperfect humans managing the brand’s presence. Also, consider enlisting a few more people at your company to look at posts and tweets before they’re published to mitigate the chance of errors.

Manage Social Media

2. Tread Lightly

Recent discourse surrounding diversity practices presents an opportune time for brands to express their support for minority communities. But be careful – posting your own support for the cause over social media can look like tokenism or jumping on the bandwagon. Before publishing anything that alludes to current events, especially if they’re controversial and elicit strong emotions, consider running the post by a few people whose opinion you trust. Ask them for an honest assessment of how it sounds. If there’s any chance it could sound like opportunism, edit it accordingly or don’t post it at all. Just one tone-deaf post can severely harm a brand’s image and result in fallout that then needs to be managed.

Only 54% of companies have a plan in place to deal with a social media emergency. (Reputation Management)

3. Respond to Complaints

If you receive negative feedback about recent posts or customer service over social media, determine if it’s worth responding. Some people head to social just to voice their opinions, but if someone has a legitimate complaint, respond in a measured way that’s not accusatory or critical. You can be sure that others are watching to see how you handle yourself. Try to defuse the situation by affirming the complaint and asking if they’d be willing to continue the conversation in a direct message, email or phone call. Delete complaints only if they contain offensive language, and post explanations about why you had to take action. Otherwise, let the post stand, whether you’ve decided to respond or not. Taking posts down looks like you have something to hide.

4. Enlist a Social Media Manager

Social media moves fast, and it’s become a key aspect of marketing strategy. Consider hiring a full-time social media manager who knows best practices across multiple platforms, posts consistently in the brand’s voice, and quickly addresses complaints. It’s a mistake to think it can just be put in the hands of a Gen Zer who needs a job; it should be more than a part-time internship. They need to know the ins and outs of a company to keep the tone consistent and be empowered to respond to queries. Keep social managers in the loop as to what’s going on at the company and ask them to report regularly on their ongoing strategy.

5. Create a Crisis Plan

If something negative happens – a tone-deaf post goes viral or people pile on a complaint – have a plan in place for addressing it. Deleting comments isn’t a strategy. As a precaution, develop a template for a statement so you can act quickly in the event of a crisis. This is a time to be upstanding and professional while acknowledging the gravity of the situation; avoid any attempts at humor. Make sure it’s approved by leadership and proofed by trusted colleagues. Then, determine the chain of command for putting out subsequent fires. Also, consider consulting with a crisis communications expert for developing a plan.

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