Social media is a great and convenient place to promote your business. Everything can and is fairly easy to post, but that's the way it goes for... everyone! And therein often lies the 'fear' of many entrepreneurs: "What if I am spoken badly about? What can I do about it?". Well a lot! First of all, in many cases you can prevent it and if the damage is done, it is often also possible to turn it into something positive. So, do you want to increase the trust of your fans, followers and (potential) customers? Do you want to avoid as many mistakes as possible on social media? Then read on quickly!
There are easy ways to avoid potential problems that could negatively impact your business and reputation online. Below are the most common mistakes and solutions.
Tip 1 - Double check
Hiring proofreaders is not always cost-effective. Doing (everything) yourself takes a lot of time, which you usually don't have. But... still I advise you to read your texts at least 3 times if you hang your arrow above 'publish'. Fortunately, text is not 'printed' online, but an error is such a sin. Especially in a newsletter! And... look around you. There are also always people who want to help you (think of your wolfpack, see page 29 of my book).
By the way, this is not only about spelling, but also about facts! Don't just take everything you read literally. The internet is big enough to find a double check on the facts you want to share!
Tip 2 - Fix problems/complaints right away (and read how)
The holy grail of social media is still "engagement" right now. Responding and participating in conversations with your followers and customers will help strengthen your relationship (and loyalty).
If you don't have time to respond to your social media accounts, then you better close them. Lack of response is much worse than having no social profile at all. You need to know what your customers are saying and sharing about your brand, so that you can immediately address potential problems before they become something much worse. And don't forget that you can always try to transform a negative experience into something positive! From my own experience I can tell you that a complaining customer who feels heard and is well helped, often becomes a very loyal and satisfied customer!!
If you find such a negative experience on social media about your company, send the sender a message with the request to handle the discussion positively offline. If you try to solve something in your timeline publicly, there is a chance that factual untruths will be broadcast by the disgruntled customer to the other followers. And of course you can't wait for that! With your offer to solve it offline, you not only give your customer a chance to discuss the problem, but it also shows other followers that the service is good.
When customers take the time to share their experience and/or thoughts on social media, it's important that you acknowledge that. Post an apology for their experience ASAP without admitting you're wrong. Of course, getting a complaint is super annoying, but apparently you have not met the customer's expectations. Learn from it.
Tip 3 - The right tone of voice
You have probably heard this term 'tone of voice'. I often use the term myself because it is an important part of your branding. What is it? It is the style in which a company or brand communicates with the target group. So literally 'the voice of the organization'. The company becomes/is recognizable if you maintain one fixed tone in all your communication (texts), and that partly determines the image. A tone of voice can be formal (you) or informal (you), very serious or lighthearted, direct or indirect, commercial or informative, technical or accessible. If your tone of voice does not fit well with your target group, then you are missing the point.
And, oh yes... humor
If you think it's funny, why wouldn't your followers find it funny? Well, maybe because you insult someone with it, because the 'news' is outdated or because it blackens your competitor (not done!). Using humor can act like catnip on your followers, but you have to know your audience very well before using humor. If you are not 100% sure, ask someone you trust for honest advice.
Tip 4 - Do a 'check round' regularly
Check every now and then that no other social media accounts are posing as your brand, webshop or company. What?! Yes unfortunately... There could be several reasons why your company's social accounts have been duplicated; from deliberate hijackers to employees or resellers unaware of the consequences. Duplicate pages can not only damage your company's reputation, but also confuse search engines. Therefore, regularly Google the name of your webshop/company and also search within social media. If you find a duplicate try to suppress it as soon as possible. How you approach this differs per social media, check the helpdesk.
Tip 5 - Be thankful
Many companies routinely respond to negative reviews and don't think about acknowledging the positive ones (seriously, they exist). Show your gratitude to customers who take the time to share positive experiences about your brand, product, service, shop or company. Of course it shows having good manners , but it's also just 'right' to do! Karma baby.
So keep yourself busy with the positive and negative reactions on social media and always pay attention to how you react. Some people just have 'unpredictable sensitivities'. Answer reviews as soon as possible, be polite and professional.
Now that you've read so much, you've earned a bonus ;-) Use SEO keywords and relevant links in your comments! This pushes your social account higher in the search engine rankings.
Always be aware of how you communicate with your followers and (potential) customers.
What do you think? Are you already using one or more of the above tactics to protect your online reputation (aka branding)? How do you deal with problems on your social accounts? Share your tips and experiences here in the Insiders group .
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