With the advent of the Internet, it comes as no surprise that two-thirds of the world population now has access to social media. If you’re running a business, chances are it’s being talked about somewhere in cyberspace. This can be both good news and bad news for the brand owner.
Building brand awareness takes a lot of time and effort. We’re now at a point where brands can no longer afford to ignore their online reputation. According to a 2017 local consumer review survey conducted by BrightLocal:
- 97% of consumers search for local businesses online
- 90% of respondents check for and read customer feedback before visiting a business
- 49% of consumers go for a brand with no less than a 4-star rating
Social media has completely changed the way we look at brands. For many of these brands, successfully managing a strong social media presence gives them a chance to make a splash and stand out from the competition. Others, however, prefer to stick to “old traditions”, afraid of entering the social media arena.
A lot of consumers take to various social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, when they want to voice out their sentiments towards a brand. However, we have the propensity to share negative reviews, more often than when we have a wonderful experience with a product or service. Criticism may not necessarily damage your brand, but the way you handle crises like this can have a direct impact on your online reputation.
So how can you protect your brand reputation on social media? Read on to find out.
#1 Address All Complaints and Comments
Engagement is key when it comes to social media. To protect brand reputation and help build a loyal following, it’s important that you respond and take part in conversations with your audience. If you don’t dedicate a bit of time responding to customers on social media, you’re probably better off just deactivating your accounts. A lack of response could be worse than not having social media presence at all.
Being active on social sites is important if you want to know what others are saying about you. This way, you can identify and address potential issues before they affect your brand reputation. Better yet, you’ll get the chance to turn a negative feedback into a positive one!
When customers spend their time sharing their sentiments on social media, it’s important that you acknowledge them. Do it as soon as possible and apologize for their experience without admitting you’re at fault (as this requires further investigation on your part). Sometimes, you can’t help but cringe to these criticisms, but the fact is that you failed to meet a customer’s expectation. At this point, you need to embrace these criticisms and learn from them.
Transportation network company, Uber, for example, is no stranger to irate customers venting out their frustration on social media. But Uber handles customer complaints like a boss. They make sure to thank those who leave positive reviews on their Facebook page and when they see a potential problem from a customer, they immediately respond and offer to continue the discussion offline to rectify the issue.
By taking the matter offline, you not only give the customer the opportunity to discuss the problem in more detail, you also show everyone that you care about making things right.
#2 Share Your Social Media Game Plan with Your Team
It’s important to share your game plan and offer your employees training on how to properly manage irate customers online, in a diplomatic manner. This way, your social media strategy becomes stronger and can help improve customer service experience in the long run.
GoDaddy, is a fine example of a brand with a sound crisis communication strategy in place. Back in 2012, their web hosting service went down, directly affecting hundreds of thousands of clients. This was a major catastrophe, considering they’re the biggest player in the low-cost hosting arena. But GoDaddy was quick to respond to complaints on social media, immediately letting them know the reason for the downtime. More importantly, they kept following up their clients with regular updates. Ultimately, many of their clients praised them for their quick response and reliable customer service.
This strategy shows how important it is for you and your team to have a social media game plan in place. With it, you can respond appropriately and in a timely manner, protecting your brand reputation. By adopting this strategy, you can address criticisms appropriately and educate customers on your brand. You have control over the situation and steer a negative experience into a positive one.
#3 Make Use of Customer Service Apps (and Make Sure They Work!)
If your business provides customer service via customized apps directly connected to your social media accounts, make sure to check your links on a regular basis to ensure they’re working properly. If they’re broken or require updates, you can turn them off and fix them quickly. Left ignored, your customers might start questioning your brand reputation and the accuracy of the information you provide them.
A lot of customers often turn to Twitter and Facebook to share their disappointment or frustration over a brand, so it pays to have a customer service app that will make it easy for them to contact you via chat, telephone, or email - all while keeping negative feedback on your page at bay.
Taking care of your brand reputation on social media isn’t a one-time endeavor. It’s a constant, ever-changing process that pays off in the long run. A brand that showcases excellent online reputation is trusted, well-loved by customers, and is able to deliver great results.
Does this sound a lot like your brand? If not, we hope this guide can help you!