Brief Guide: Social Media Reputation Management
Every brand wants to build a positive and strong reputation for itself on social media. Even established brands are always concerned about what the audience thinks about them and their products and services. Social media reputation management is a dedicated field that has evolved tremendously over the last few years. The rise in the user base on social media has made reputation monitoring and management a crucial part of digital marketing and branding.
For most brand managers, receiving good comments on posts is the only way to determine online brand reputation. But there’s more to it. Other than social media platforms, there are many other channels that allow a user to review your brand. All of this constitutes as online brand reputation.
In this blog, we will talk about social media reputation management. Let’s get started!
What is Social Media Reputation Management?
Social media reputation management involves managing and monitoring brand reputation on social media channels. Analysing reviews, comments, interactions, and every other aspect of online brand review and communication forms a part of social media reputation management. Initially, brand managers only cared about reviews of their products and services but with time users are also critical of after-sales customer support, brand value and beliefs, and brand goals and objectives. This has increased the significance of social media reputation management.
Importance of Social Media Reputation Management
No business can survive without a user base or an audience. To know whether you are catering to the right audience, it is important to know the audiences’ psyche. Social media reputation management helps you detect how your brand is being perceived by your audience. It helps you understand the brand’s position in the market. The main aim of social media reputation is to build a positive perception of the brand in the minds of the audience. The process of conducting social media reputation monitoring also helps you detect the flaws in your branding strategies. It also tells you a lot about the audience you are targeting.
We obviously know how important it is to maintain brand reputation on digital platforms but how can brand managers go about it? This is where we need to frame a reputation management strategy.
Points To Remember For Social Media Reputation Management
1. Know about where your company stands in the present
Before you go about analysing your future goals for brand reputation make sure you are aware of your company’s current position and reputation. This is important because only then will you be able to make plans for your brand’s future strategies. Moreover, knowing about the present situation will also help you understand if your previous strategies worked for you.
2. Discover all the channels where users are talking about your brand
Sure, social media reputation management is majorly about social media platforms but when it comes to online reputation monitoring one needs to check on other channels too. Check the platforms on which your brand is being reviewed or mentioned to get a clear picture of your brand position. Don’t forget to check review sites and other forums like Reddit and Quora.
3. Take note of the negative reviews
Brand managers sure lookout for positive reviews but it is equally important to pay attention to negative reviews. Keep a check on what the users are complaining about and what they are not happy with. Keeping a track of the negative reviews will tell you a lot about how your brand is being perceived on social media. In many cases, the reviews might not be authentic too and as a brand, you can reply to such reviews and clarify your stand too which can have an impact on your brand value.
4. Take into account the suggestions you receive
In many cases, brands receive reviews and comments that have worthy suggestions for the brand. Brand managers must take note of these suggestions because they can help improve their strategies, products, and services. Some suggestions can also bring out brand elements that were unexplored until now.
5. Hire the right resources
Simply looking at comments and assuming what can be improved is not social media reputation management. Brands that seriously want their image to improve on social media platforms must hire the right resources and tools. This will help you streamline the brand reputation management process.
Keep in mind these five points to manage and monitor your brand’s social media reputation. Apart from following the points above, brands can also work on their social media strategy and content to improve their brand presence.
Tips To Enhance Your Brand’s Social Media Reputation
1. Pay attention to all the social media platforms you are active on
Brands often have multiple social media accounts and it is necessary to pay attention to each one of them. Even if you hardly have any followers on one of the social media platforms, you need to monitor it regularly. This is important so that you do not miss out on any reviews, comments, or suggestions.
2. Highlight the good reviews
It is good to highlight what the users like about your brand. Share Instagram stories of positive reviews, create a highlight of good reviews on Instagram, share review videos on social media, and so on. This will help users on social media evaluate your brand better and will also help form a good first impression.
3. Focus on creating great content
The content has a huge role to play when it comes to setting a brand personality on social media. Content also impacts the way users interact with your brand and how they perceive your brand. This is why creating content that resonates with your brand values and audience is very important. Refrain from posting any content that hurts the sentiments of your audience. In many cases, brands have lost their loyal audience simply because they published a content piece that hurt the sentiments of a particular audience base.
4. Analyse your social media data and implement findings in your strategies
Social media analytics can help you track the performance of your brand’s content on social media platforms. The social media data also includes insights into audience engagement and sentiments. This data will help you improve your social media plans and reputation management strategy. Tools like Unbox Social help you with competition tracking and social media analytics. The data from such tools can be helpful in reputation management.
5. Follow the trends that are in sync with your brand and audience
Social media users are known to follow trends because it keeps them engaged on the platforms. Brands can make use of trends to keep up with their competitors. This will also tell the audience about your consistency on different social media channels. Moreover, the trends you follow also give an idea of your brand voice.
A 5-step reputation management strategy any business can follow
Now that we acknowledge how much your reputation matters, let’s talk about the proactive steps you can take to improve your own while tackling some of the challenges above.
The following five-point strategy is fair game for businesses both big and small.
1. Determine where your online reputation currently stands
First things first: you need to figure out how people feel about your brand right now.
Are your customers happy and satisfied? Are you struggling with naysayers? Perhaps you’re somewhere in-between?
Digging into a combination of qualitative and quantitative data can help clue you in on where your reputation stands. This includes:
- Social media posts, comments and @mentions from customers and competitors
- Online reviews and star ratings from third-party review sites
- Mentions from industry blogs or trade journals
- Feedback gathered from actual customers (think: emails, customer surveys, contact forms on your website)
The key here is to look at the ratio of positive versus negative comments. If your customer sentiment seems to err on the positive side, that’s good! If not, you have some work to do.
The health of your reputation can be difficult to quantify “by hand.” That’s where reputation management tools like Sprout Social can help.
For example, our sentiment analysis tool can take mentions such as the ones above and turn them into a meaningful, quantifiable metric that you can track.
You can use your sentiment analysis score as a sort of starting point which you can then monitor or strive to improve. Our platform likewise highlights trends in your customer sentiment (think: positive versus negative comments) over time without you having to sort them out manually.
Beyond comments are those ever-so-important reviews on third-party sites. Another key feature of Sprout is the ability to wrangle all of your reviews from social media and beyond in a single tool. This gives you a more comprehensive view of your online reputation and what your customers have to say about you without having to bounce between platforms.
2. Track your company’s mentions (the good, bad and ugly)
Reputation management is an active, ongoing process.
After you’ve figured out where your reputation stands now, you need to set up your business to be able to respond to customers swiftly in the future.
This means setting up real-time notifications and listening for the following:
- Tags and @mentions of your business (ex: @SproutSocial)
- Hashtag uses (ex: #SproutSocial or #SproutChat)
- Branded keywords (ex: “Sprout Social” on Twitter, not @tagged)
Having a pulse on these mentions makes it easier to make the appropriate interventions when someone has a question, concern or reason to shout you out.
This once again highlights the benefit of using a platform like Sprout. With Sprout, you can consolidate all of your social messages and mentions in a single inbox. You can likewise share your social dashboard(s) among your teammates to cover more ground and speed up your response time.
3. Be proactive and positive as you respond to your mentions
Whether it’s a concern or a compliment, mentions represent prime opportunities to make a positive impression on customers and improve your online reputation.
Doing so comes down to have a strategy for social customer care. Some key tips for responding to customers include:
- Personalizing each reply rather than just copy-and-pasting a generic one
- Always give yourself the last word by saying “thanks”
- Moving questions or concerns off of social media to avoid unnecessary conflict or back-and-forth
It might sound cheesy, but a positive, proactive attitude goes a long way in reputation management. This rings true when responding to shout-outs…
…and answering customer questions alike.
4. Take control of your company’s narrative (and make it positive)
As noted, the key challenge of social media reputation management is that online comments are pretty much a free-for-all.
Arguably the best approach to combat the negative is by encouraging your own positive praise.
And yes, there are ways to do so beyond begging (which you definitely shouldn’t do).
For example, you might consider publishing success stories and existing positive reviews from your satisfied customers. This can help highlight positive experiences to your social prospects who might not have checked out any third-party reviews yet.
Beyond customer comments, employee advocacy and mentions from your own team can also create more positive sentiment.
Don’t be shy about re-posting your customers’ positive responses or shout-outs, either. This includes asking for permission to republish user-generated content to use in your future marketing.
5. Take action based on comments, criticism and analytics
Finally, consider the power of actually listening to what your customers have to say.
Maybe they’re glowing over your recent customer service initiatives. Perhaps they’re unhappy about recent pricing changes.
Either way, don’t just take those comments in stride. Instead, listen to such feedback and make changes to your business accordingly.
And yet again, this is where Sprout can help. Digging into your listening data, you can uncover specific terms that pop up in your customer conversations to help you understand what you’re doing right and where you can improve.
The same applies to your third-party ratings, reviews and mentions. Being a business today means having a thick skin, but it also means taking criticism where it’s due.
Based on all of the above, you can circle back to square one to understand how your reputation management efforts are paying off and whether you’re moving the needle in a positive direction.
Is online reputation management a top priority for your business?
Listen: Your brand’s reputation matters.
Rather than treat it as something beyond your control, you should take steps to secure and boost your reputation sooner rather than later.
This means both listening and reacting to conversations related to your business. With reputation management tools like Sprout Social, you can roll out a more effective and efficient strategy on social media and beyond.