Social media lets you instantly communicate any message at any time and build a community of loyal followers. This has large benefits, but there are also risks. Social media risks are primarily that one mistake or rumour can affect the confidence that people have in your company. You use social media to manage customer support and expectations, advertising, share information, and more. It’s an incredibly useful tool… as long as it’s used properly.
To prevent social media from damaging your reputation, you need a social media strategy. Determine a set of rules for your channels, and regularly reconsider the strategy to keep it current with new platforms and business changes.
Above all, your social media must create and protect a positive brand image and reputation. Every time you make a post or respond to a comment, keep these factors in mind:
You always have to communicate respectfully, no matter what. You and your company should come across as approachable and open to various viewpoints. Think carefully before you post anything online that could be considered disrespectful. Once it’s online, there’s no going back. One company received public backlash in November 2013 for using Veteran’s Day as an excuse to promote a healthy recipe from their magazine on social media.
2. Purpose, value, and quality
Social media should bring something to the user. The number one rule of content marketing is not to create posts just for the sake of doing so. Content should answer a question or help solve a problem. Basing content around relevant themes can help capture audiences and organize your content. In addition, make sure you listen to what customers have to say and are receptive and responsive. Finally, ensure that every piece of writing is grammatically correct, properly designed, clear, and concise. This is key for maintaining professionalism.
3. Know your audience and the community
Next consider what matters to the people that are viewing your posts. Make sure you’re always communicating the right message for your viewers and not giving any wrong impressions. Further, creating a community that encourages feedback and open communication is much more effective than just speaking out — that’s a method of brand communication that’s in the past. In 2017, Pepsi produced a 3-minute video ad starring Kendall Jenner. In the ad, she joined a protest and seemed to solve the scenario by giving a police officer a can of Pepsi. The negative responses on Twitter and other platforms quickly made the company realize how their ad came across as insensitive and foolish to their audience.
4. Be open and honest
With an increase in financial and ethical scandals, some customers believe that all businesses have corruption in them. To combat this mindset, it’s very important that you’re transparent at all times. Be authentic in your social media. Don’t make statements that your audience might misunderstand. And always attach a name and title to a piece, particularly if it’s your opinion.
5. Responding to criticism
One drawback to social media is that customers can post negative comments online for all to see. Use this as an opportunity to improve the business and show empathy instead of viewing it as a disadvantage. Don’t shy away from negative comments. Instead, find out what you can about the incident and encourage a dialogue. Show your willingness to help the customer in any way possible and fix the problem for future clients. Changing an experience from negative to positive is extremely powerful. It can completely change a person’s mindset about your business and impact more than the original commenter.
Your business needs social media to spread the message of your incredible products or services. By remembering these rules, you know that the chances of making a damaging mistake are relatively small.