Small Business Owner’s Guide to Smart Social Media Reputation Management

social media reputation management

Did you know that 44% of local businesses depend on social media to generate brand awareness? You understand how vital social media marketing and management is.

Social media channels are prime spots for customers to conduct brand research. Social media enables reviews, comments, and other ways for your customers to publicly convey their opinions about your brand.

If your small business is starting to take your social media reputation seriously, read this guide and know how to improve your social media reputation management.

Verify Your Social Media Accounts

Have you verified your social media accounts? If not, this is the first step in social media reputation management.

Customers use your social media channels for a variety of reasons. They contact you through your social media, they review your company on social media, and they may even buy products directly on your social media.

Chances are, you have a variety of social media channels. Which ones should you verify? In a perfect world, you would verify all of them. But not all social media types offer verification.

Here are the ones that do:

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • Snapchat
  • YouTube

Keep in mind, these social media types have strict qualifications for verification. You’ll need:

  • A decent-sized following
  • Prove your identification
  • Give your social media accounts a reason to verify you

We live in an age where it’s easy to pose as others and hack into people’s accounts. Social media verification creates trust between you and your customers.

Report All Fraudsters

Social media verification gives you more control over your brand. But there will always be fraudsters who will still use your name and mimic your posts.

Unfortunately, your verification won’t safeguard your brand. Some of your customers may not know the difference between a verified and unverified account.

Some scammers do such a good job at imitating your account, your audience may not even notice the lack of verification. This is why security is key.

When you see a fraudster, immediately report them. It’s even helpful to screenshot their account and post the fake profile to your account, informing your customers about them.

Keep in mind, there may be some legitimate businesses who have the same name as you.

Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do about this; if they legally own the business name in their state, they’re allowed to use it. Just make sure that business is legitimate.

Inform customers of the difference, especially if you’re in a similar industry as they are.

Visit Your Social Media Accounts

This step may seem simple, but it makes the world of a difference. Regularly visit your social media accounts.

Look at everything — your statuses, the comments, the likes, the follows, your pictures, your followers, your events, and anything else that’s relevant to your social media usage.

The main reason to visit your social media profiles is an obvious one — to make sure there’s no spam, harassment, or any vulgarities that don’t belong on your page.

But there’s another main reason to visit your social media profiles.

Pay attention to your posts — how they look, how each post flows together, etc. Does this make up your branding? Do your posts sound professional but are also interesting?

When we post social media statuses and pictures, we usually think in-the-moment. But regularly visiting your profiles helps you look at your profiles as a customer. This way, you can discover ways to improve your social media posts.

Monitor Your Mentions and Shares

Social media monitoring doesn’t end at your profiles. You should also pay close attention when anyone tags or mentions your brand. While tags and mentions are good, this can be the first indicator or spam or harassment.

Most business social media apps will immediately inform you when your accounts get tagged or mentioned. The minute you receive that notification, visit the post. Make sure your name isn’t attached to a spam post or anything vulgar.

The quicker you take action, the more control you have over your reputation.

In addition, monitor your shares. Even though shares are a great way to show engagement, these can also be an indicator of harassment or spam.

Your business app will notify you whenever someone shares your post. You can also view each post and see who shared your posts and what they said.

Monitor Your Employee’s Social Media Channels

If you haven’t added your employees on social media, do so. Your employees have more to do with your company reputation than you think. You may think you trust them but they know every piece of inside information.

While it’s unlikely that your employees will give out secret passwords or insider information, they could start gossiping and post it all on social media.

Unfortunately, many social media apps allow posters to block certain people from seeing their posts. Your employees could also have alter egos and nicknames, making it difficult to find their social media accounts.

When you do find an employee on social media, monitor their posts. If they post anything about your company, ensure it’s respectful. Take harsh punishments if they post anything negative about your company.

Connect With Customers

Your social media should be your main form of online customer communication. Always respond to messages in a timely manner. Respond to all comments and questions. When a customer posts on your profile, start a conversation.

Your posts should also ask for engagement. Ask your customers what they want to see and ask them how you can improve your company. This proves their opinion matters to you.

Create a Schedule

As you’re reading through this advice, you’re probably realizing this is a lot of responsibility. And it is! But that’s why organization is critical.

Create a social media schedule. Keep a time to work on posts, to publish those posts, and to monitor every aspect of your social media.

Keep Everything Positive

While you’re tempted to blast your competitors on social media, it’s best to keep everything positive on social media. People judge you — and they love judging you on social media. And no one likes negative posts.

In addition, no one likes bragging posts. Save sales successes and other victories for your team. Make your social media all about your customers.

Here are good examples of customer-driven content:

  • Educational posts
  • Honorable staff mentions (such as “our sales team ensures customer satisfaction is a priority”)
  • Any news or trends that are relevant to your industry
  • Anything that shows you interacting to customers (retweeting customer experiences, responding to Facebook comments, etc.)
  • Tips, tricks, and ideas

All of these positive, customer-driven post ideas will help draw in positive attention.

But You Should Still Establish Your Brand as an Expert

It’s important to keep the majority of your posts related to your audience. But you should always establish your brand as an authoritative figure in your niche. But there’s a slick way to do this so you don’t look like you’re bragging.

Rather than posting about how you have a team of experts, make your team prove their knowledge. Create educational blog posts and promote them on social media. Create videos of your team taking their expertise to use at your company.

Are you speaking at a convention? Ask your AV team to film it and promote it on your social media channels. You can also offer free courses in your niche and you can write up a free ebook to offer your social media followers.

Don’t forget your B2B audience! Use your social media channels to network with as many other professionals in your niche. Post helpful advice and any trends to entice your connections.

Post About Your Community

While your posts should be tailored to your customers and your industry, you’ll gain a lot of feedback from your community if you post and promote anything local.

You’ll quickly grow your following, you’ll entice your current customers, and you’ll look like a brand that matters.

Participating in local events and promoting them on social media is also a great way to look like an authoritative figure in your community and can even give you some free press.

What are some events to participate in? Look for any festivals or conventions in your area. Find any ongoing events. For example, does your town host a community market every weekend?

Fundraisers are also a great idea. Donate to a local fundraiser. Find events you and your employees can participate in. Examples include running a marathon.

Don’t Leave Fake, Positive Reviews

We all know they exist. The scam companies that create fake profiles to leave positive reviews on your company’s social media pages. It’s tempting to buy into those programs, but you’re wasting your money.

So, what’s the harm? Social media companies are smarter than you think.

They can easily track down fake profiles and spam. And what happens when they sense too many fake accounts on your page? Facebook will see your page as spam, too.

So how do you manage bad reviews? Rather than replace them with a (fake) good review, manage the bad review directly. Respond and offer the customer a discount, free product or service, or anything that can improve their experience.

It may not leave you with better ratings, but you’ll gain the respect from current and prospective customers.

Speaking of responding to reviews…

Respond to All Reviews

Don’t only save your response to bad reviews. Respond to everyone who reviews your company.

What if someone leaves a positive review? Respond and say thanks. Let them know you appreciate their business and you’re thrilled they had a wonderful experience.

You can even offer your business contact info in case they have any future questions.

What about so-so reviews? Thank them for their service and ask what they could do better.

How exactly do you respond to customer reviews? Here’s some advice.

Never Respond Emotionally

Your business means everything to you. If a customer didn’t have a good experience, it’s easy to get defensive. But make sure you contain your emotions when responding.

If the review was terrible or they mentioned something inaccurate, don’t correct them. Simply apologize, leave your contact information, and ask them what you can do to improve their experience.

This doesn’t only pertain to negative reviews. Positive reviews can leave you jumping for joy and wanting to reward your positive reviewer with every discount at your store.

But your response should still be calm and respectful. Thank them for the five-star review and state you’re always there if they ever need help.

Promote Positive Reviews

Do more than respond to positive reviews. Screenshot them and promote them on your social media channel.

Thank the customer by name and state how happy you were to serve them. If the customer provided a picture or video with your product, promote that.

Entice Customers to Leave Reviews

Did you know a company with bad reviews is better than a company with no reviews?

Let’s take SEO as an example. Reviews inform Google that your brand receives business and is trustworthy. A company with no reviews tells Google your company doesn’t exist. The same goes for social media.

Entice customers to leave reviews on all channels, including your social media. Offer a discount or free product or service. Include all links to your social media so your customers can stay engaged.

Use Better Social Media Reputation Management

Social media can be a scary world. To ensure your social media accounts don’t ruin the public’s perception of you, exercise great social media reputation management.

Monitor your social media accounts, verify your profiles, post customer-driven content, and engage with all reviews.

Take reputation management a step further and manage all of your digital outlets. Start with your website. Ensure you have a great performing website with one of our hosting plans!