And which strategies do businesses need to implement to ensure they protect their reputation in the social sphere?
We’ll be looking at those issues in our latest blog on Protecting Businesses In The Digital World
What happens if you have your Gerald Ratners moment online?
What happens if someone from your company does something wholly inappropriate like Justine Sacco who tweeted “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!”
What happens if an employee of your does what Laura Goodman did and hinted that she’d “spiked a vegan” in the restaurant she worked in?
You’ll notice all of the threats we’ve mentioned above are Internal Threats to your business
When people think about reputation management they often look externally rather than the impact staff make so to redress the balance we’ll be looking at both Internal Threats and External Threats to businesses
90% OF YOUR STAFF DON’T UNDERSTAND SOCIAL MEDIA
Your biggest failure is 90% of your staff don’t understand social media
Social Media has become something that sits in a marketing department or that one person is responsible for as “one of many tasks”
It needs to be bigger than that
The fact that your staff don’t understand social media is the very reason there are content droughts, why poor customer service ends up as a viral horror story and why brilliant staff aren’t able to contribute to the success of your social media
Most employees view social media as something they do in their social time – they need to understand that social media is important for the businesses goals
LACK OF TRAINING
If you work for someone else you can’t even pick up a box without attending a full days health and safety course to lift up a box
And yet marketing – one of the most important functions of your business – is handed over to someone with zero training
We live in a world where 93% of purchasing decisions are influenced by social media and therefore social media can be make or break for your business
So therefore, treat social media with the upmost importance and at the very least put your staff on a half days social media course
If you want to be the very best in your industry at social media, implement a social media training program where everyone in the organisation is brought up to date every 6 months
LACK OF CONTENT
Your business should not be suffering content droughts – when a content drought happens you bore your audience
We’ve probably used that phrase in 3 or 4 blogs this year and we will continue to do so
Your content library should be packed with visual content be that photos, videos, graphic design and every story should be told
Stories should have a beginning, a middle and end
And it should be documented at every opportunity
Digital champions for each area of your business should be empowered to provide content to the dedicated social media manager to allow them to do their job
When it comes to content the mission should be over deliver rather than just do what is necessary
The word new is a magic word that brings so much back to your business
LACK OF EMPLOYEE ADVOCACY SCHEME
When you think of an employee advocacy schemes you immediately think of huge companies like Barclays, IBM, Apple and so on
There’s no reason an employee advocacy scheme can’t apply to a small business with 3-5 employees
If you have a dedicated social media manager who has great content and a business where all the staff believe in great customer service – it makes it easier for employees to get behind everything you’re doing on social media
The average Facebook user now has about 338 friends
The Average Twitter User Now has 707 Followers
Imagine getting your staff behind the business sharing your key updates on Social Media as well
An employee advocacy scheme can often mean that your updates reach double, triple or more the audience they normally would
LACK OF MEASUREMENT
There are measurement tools for virtually everything you do on Social Media
Facebook & Instagram Insights, Twitter Analytics, Google Analytics
Hey – there’s even that quaint old fashioned thing of asking people how they found you!!
That’s how many track ROI for their business.
Measure Measure and then Measure some more and do it at least on a weekly basis so you can adapt and change what you do to make the maximum impact
Often what happens with businesses new to Social Media is they will give it a few months and not measure what they’re doing until the point months later when they say it’s not working.
If they’d have measured in week 1, 2, 4 and so on they’d have been able to put changes in place and look in-depth at what is going right or wrong
HOW TO DEAL WITH A COMPLAINT
IS IT A GENUINE COMPLAINT OR A TROLL?
First things first – one customer complaint will not destroy your business
So relax and don’t avoid social media for business simply because of some of the vile things you’ve witnessed on social media on a personal level
When a complaint comes in the 1st thing to decide is whether if it’s a genuine complaint or a troll
You need to ask questions like
Did this happen? Is it true? It is an exaggeration of the truth? Is it slander?
If you were present in the business you’ll know immediately what was the truth and if it wasn’t you need to allow staff to tell their side of their story
One of the things we always do once verifying the facts of what happened is look at the social media profiles of who is complaining to decide what to do next
Are they generally positive or are they serial complainers?
Which other reviews have they left?
The numbers of followers or connections they have doesn’t ever come into it
A genuine complaint from someone with 5 followers should be taken as seriously as a genuine complaint from someone with 500 followers
What you’re looking for is keys as to their character and demeanour
If it’s genuine respond with empathy – put yourselves in the shoes of the customer and offer to chat to them on the phone or email so they you can get to the heart of the problem away from social media and turn them around to a superfan
If it’s a troll often the best solution is to ignore
If it’s a troll and there are slanderous accusations sometimes the only solution is to contact the lawyers
If someone crosses over to harassment of business owners or staff then log a report to the police
If you’re not the person in the organisation that can handle the complaint make sure you have an escalation procedure in place so that even out of hours you have at least 2 points of contact where people can respond with immediate effect
A complaint is an opportunity
An opportunity to look at your offering and make the work in progress the finished object
The person should be thanked for bringing this to attention and a policy / product / service change can be implemented so that the same complaint doesn’t happen again
Embrace these genuine complaints as the worst thing someone can do is not tell you, but tell everyone they know about how unhappy they are
HAVE A REVIEWS STRATEGY
The odd negative review makes you look more authentic
5 Stars are great – but in fact, people are more likely to believe 4.7 / or 4.8
No one is perfect and as long as the positive outnumber the bad reviews by a sizeable amount then you’re still winning
The key is never allowing the negative review to be at the top of your page for too long. So make sure at a regular basis your customers know where to review your business – especially those ones that come in every week
And make sure your positive reviews are recent – no one cares if you have 5 star reviews that are 12 months old
ALWAYS HAVE A POSITIVE STORY IN THE BANK
Social Media is about storytelling and telling positive stories on a regular basis
Some businesses will have a positive story in the bank to push out when negativity breaks
The best brands have so many stories in the bank that it becomes a part of what they do a negativity is always a blip on an otherwise positive brand sentiment
Think of the local brands you love
They’ll have stories and launches that make you smile on a regular basis
FOSTER A TRUE COMMUNITY
If you foster a true community where your fans love your business as much as you do, they’ll back you at times of need
That’s the difference between a brand that sells and a brand that cares about their audience
When we’ve worked with businesses that have done that – if there’s been a trolling incident, an unjustified complaint or a review – our customers and audience have jumped in to defend the business and you can’t get better than
Customers that are prepared to fight your corner are customers for life
NEED HELP WITH YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA?
Chat to us about Social Media Marketing for YOUR organisation , so we can better understand YOU and what will grow your organisation
We can only find out what is unique to your business by chatting with you
Please call Alex on 07806774279 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Alex McCann is owner of Altrincham HQ – a social media management and training company based in Altrincham, Cheshire that has worked with 100s of local business developing their social media strategy. Alex has 350+ LinkedIn testimonials and is ranked number 1 for Social Media Marketing in the UK via independent customer reviews on Freeindex.