Social media sites offer businesses the allure of visibility to enormous numbers of people, combined with the opportunity to create a presence, page, profile, etc. for free. While both of these points are true on their surface, companies commonly make a variety of reputation-killing mistakes once they get past the parts about lots of people and free entry.
$ Stepping on the gas pedal with spam – Starting a company’s social media initiatives with a perception that the greatest opportunity with these sites is the potential to release advertisements at will is going to immediately identify the company as “spam-first”. This misses the point that the ethos of these platforms is social and that the true value of developing a presence on these sites will only be realized through being a good social citizen first.
Mis-handling the negatives – One of the biggest surprises for businesses that are new to social media is the number of “haters” that exist online. Whether it’s general trolling or a specific complaint, negative posts are there for all to see with a percentage of them waiting to see the response. The companies that handle these situations in the best manner possible often have a planned response protocol and a person who has been appointed to oversee it. This can avoid an “Amy’s Bakery” situation where negative posts turn inflammatory responses into cautionary tales.
Going with the wrong hashtags – Hashtags can trend for any number of reasons, which may or may not be conducive to advertising something. Plenty of businesses have failed to define the reason a hashtag is trending, and have paid for it in the form of swift and intense backlash. One of the most egregious of these fails occurred when the word “Aurora” was trending after the massacre in the town’s theater. Noticing this without seeing what it was about, Celeb Boutique put out a tweet that gushed about the arrival of an apparel line inspired by Kim Kardashian as being the reason behind the trending hashtag. Needless to say, it didn’t go over very well.
Social media offers businesses a range of opportunities to either succeed or fail in a big way. If your business is just getting started in social media, look before you leap or hire an experienced team to help get you started.
For many business owners, the only time it seems that they hear about social media networks is when a company has made a major public relations gaffe that lights up Twitter and Facebook. With that perception as a point of reference, it’s understandable when the topic of social networks’ role in reputation management is met with wariness and skepticism by these same owners. Even when this trepidation is cast aside and the first steps are taken toward developing a presence on social networks, many businesses take a position of playing “not to lose” and end up with social media pages that are either neglected or barely used.
If this situation sounds like your current state of affairs on social media platforms, there are several steps you can take now to start building a positive presence that also benefits your reputation management and SEO efforts. These steps include:
The ubiquitous nature of social media necessitates that businesses direct their reputation management efforts to these platforms as well. Take these steps now and start building your business’ reputation and its brand on these thriving networks.
Building a well designed and fully search engine optimized website with a regular flow of great content is old news for businesses wishing to maintain a high level web prominence while building and protecting their online reputations. With the meteoric rise of social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube, businesses and professionals alike must hold and manage accounts on all of them. Regular blog posts must also be factored into the mix.
Even the guys you would think know a couple of things about reputation management sometimes make the kind of big mistakes that leave people just shaking their heads. The latest example comes from Microsoft’s United Kingdom PR account regarding the death of Amy Winehouse. In reaction to her death, Microsoft Tweeted “Remember Amy Winehouse by downloading the ground-breaking ‘Back to Black’ over at Zune…”
Managing your online reputation can be challenging enough without putting up your own posts that anger half of your existing and potential customers. Such is the case when starting or participating in controversial threads on social media sites like Facebook and other social media sites.
Reputation management problems can originate from an almost unlimited variety of sources including those that are started by the people inside a company. A recent example of a company starting its own reputation management firestorm comes from a small company in Livingston, Montana named Wilcoxon’s Ice Cream. Started in 1912, the company has intentionally kept a virtually invisible profile with the media for entirety of its existence.