Why should your company make social media reputation management a priority?

When it comes to your company’s social media presence, you are in charge of your accounts, your posts, your images and your updates. Despite all of this you are not in charge of your reputation.

It’s understood that in today’s digital, real-time business environment if you are not actively managing your reputation, your competitors will manage it for you. Let’s take this one step further, today if you are not actively managing your reputation, your competitors, AND your customers, AND your former customers are managing it for you.

Colleagues, customers, critics and media members alike steer the conversation about you every single day, shaping the way that others – most importantly potential customers – perceive you and your brand. If your company is not actively managing your social media reputation, you run the risk of your reputation careening in a negative direction. It’s time to take the wheel and make it a priority.

Here’s why:
It can cost your company money: Nearly one out of every three prospective customers turn to social media to inform their buying decision. If all of the content – reviews, comments, tweets, etc. – that they come across is negative then they will elect to spend their dollars elsewhere. Therefore, investing a little money and resources into managing your social media reputation can pay off in the long term.

It only gets worse with inaction: If someone leaves a negative post on your wall or sends out a disparaging tweet, that will be the first thing other people see when they visit your social media accounts or search for you online. The longer it lingers, the worse it will look. You should actively engage in the conversation and help advance it in a way that is advantageous to you. Don’t simply ignore or delete negative items – the people who wrote them will notice and will invite more backlash in the process. Instead be honest and open. Let your critics – and others – know that your company take feedback constructively.

Social media can be complex, but the rules for positively positioning your company are simple – be as active as possible, encourage feedback, and respond to as many posts and comments (both positive and negative) as quickly you can. When serious issues do come up, offer to address them by a more direct means, such as phone or email.

It offers an opportunity for improvement; not all criticism is without merit. By reading negative reviews and posts, you can identify problem areas in your company, products or processes and address them. When you do make changes, you can let your followers know, which will engender goodwill and show your company takes customer service seriously.

Social customer service has become so common that customers now expect companies to respond and to respond quickly. Nearly half of consumers who complain on social media expect a response within one hour and nearly one-third expect a response within 30 minutes.

Companies must structure their social media strategies to meet the growing demands of their customers and continuously monitor and respond in real time. This is a vital first to protecting and building your on-line reputation.

Don’t let your social media mismanagement be the reason you miss out on your next great employee. People want to work for companies they can feel good about, and a negative reputation can keep them from applying to your jobs. In addition, the more valuable a candidate is, the more selective they can be, so a poor social media reputation can cause you to miss out on potential managers, supervisors and, perhaps, executives.

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