While the social media sites can make many executives sweat, they offer a raft of opportunities to enhance brands, products, and build reputations. Participation on the social media sites is increasingly thought to be a vital component of online reputation management. If wading in to social media is on your agenda for 2011, consider the following points:
- Be a resource, not a spammer. Work toward adding value and providing information as opposed to selling your wares. These are called social sites because they’re about being social, not about being sold to.
- Never take it into the gutter. It’s inevitable that you’re going to run into someone who is spoiling for a fight. They may be subtle about it or not but either way, don’t energize the conversation.
- Be accountable. Take responsibility if there is an issue and let your customers know how it’s going to be taken care of. Placing blame will make you look petty.
- Be positive. Focus on the great things your business is doing and don’t trash your competition – EVER. The last thing you need is for that competitor to come back at you to start a debate. By being positive and engaging and you’ll lift the conversation as opposed to dragging it down.
- Make an honest assessment, see if you’re the right person for the social media job. It’s fine if you don’t have the answer or the right response every time but if you take everything personally or just don’t like the social interaction that takes place, it’s going to show. As the face of your business, you’re going to have to be “on” all the time. If you’re not the right person for the job, let someone else do it
- Realize that you can’t control everything. Pick your spots and do your best to guide the conversation. Be sure to correct misperceptions and things like that but you don’t need to have the last word in every thread.
- Monitor your company name and your own name with a monitoring tool. Staying in touch with what is being said about your business will help to diffuse issues quickly.
- Act immediately if something is blowing up on you. Have contingency plans in advance that can be initiated quickly, if need be.
The social media environment offers the opportunity to interact with your prospective clients in a new and exciting format. A growing number of companies are employing the services of firms which specialize in online reputation management services to handle their social media interface as well. For a free initial consultation on how social media can enhance and protect your company’s reputation, visit http://www.reputationmanagementllc.com/