Category Archives: Reputation Management

Social Media: Mind Your Manners!

social media heartsBack in 2013 I read a story about a local business coming under fire from actions and words captured on camera for a reality TV show. While it is true you can’t always trust what you see on TV, these days marketing is not just about how you view your own business and tell your story; it is how others view you and your business as well.

Mind your social media manners!

The article described some of the actions and intense (verbiage of the business owners caught on camera. The story does not end here; this business’ Facebook Page had many, many negative comments about what was viewed on this show. Again, at this point, it doesn’t matter what the intentions of the business were at the time of the taping, because public perception had taken over. What does matter are these two important details:

  1. Right or wrong, viewers left negative comments on their social media pages, including Facebook and Yelp!.
  2. Right or wrong, the owners responded very negatively, nearly abusively.

Some people live to argue with others. Some can’t stand being wrong about anything. Still some see our social media avatars (those little pictures next to our online name) as just that — pictures — and don’t care that these represent real people with real feelings.

If you were the business owner, how would you have responded to all this negative feedback on your Facebook and other social media pages? How should you have responded?

  1. Don’t argue points. Arguing can be seen as not just a debatable posture, but also as a highly defensive one. Instead, take a proactive stance and write a statement that not only reflects your professionalism, but also lets customers and viewers know you are reviewing all statements and actions and will respond accordingly after all facts/evidence are gathered. Sincerely and politely thank posters for their comments and feedback.
  2. STOP YELLING! For nearly 20 years, writing anything (i.e., email, blog, social media post, etc.) is viewed as “yelling”. It is a strong statement of your opinion, yes, but can be seen as very combative and negative. Make your point known without using this crutch.
  3. Don’t swear! Using swear words “because everybody does it” is not only a myth, it’s an excuse and a huge turn-off for potential clients. You will endanger your reputation being viewed as highly negative, combative, and very unprofessional.
  4. Stop over-defending your position. Some people just like to get a rise out of people. Some just like to “hear” (ok, read) their own voice. Don’t give in and argue — as I stated in #1, it’s pointless. Stay true, stay professional to your voice on your social media pages.
  5. No name-calling. This isn’t second grade. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, right or wrong, but don’t give in by responding to the commenter in kind. This is viewed as unprofessional, and it can also damage your reputation.

You have the right to respond to negative comments on social media, and you should. Never leave a negative comment unanswered.

  • Allow common sense to be your guide when responding.
  • Count to 10 before writing.
  • Walk away entirely from the negative bashing. Breathe in and out, very slowly. Then, begin writing your response.
  • After you have written your response, don’t post! Save and walk away for at least 2 hours. Think about what you have written before publishing. Once you publish, you can’t take it back. And, if you do publish and then have second (or third) thoughts, own the mistake, apologize as appropriate, and move on.

Try to view the negative feedback as instructional. If you didn’t know what was wrong before, you certainly do now! Take appropriate, purposeful steps to correct both the error(s) and public perception. You attract more flies with honey than a fly swatter.

Mind your social media manners.

Be strategic. Be visible. Be found.

Protect Your Rep: 7 Tips to Control Your Social Pages

Your online reputation management: social networks, content marketing, forums, press releases, reviews & searches, and competitor websites.There’s a disturbing trend in my industry that I’m seeing and not liking, and that is a business owner’s lack of control of their social media pages. Every day I talk to more business owners who either had an employee or an outside company managing their social media pages, thereby also managing their reputation, but do NOT have access to their own pages!

In Facebook’s help community alone, I have found no less than 30 questions posted by business owners looking to resolve this issue, all have gone unanswered by Facebook and the community — including my own post. Each story reads similarly: “We had (employee name/business name) managing our social media page(s). We decided the goals weren’t being met so we (fired employee)(parted ways), but we don’t have access to our pages so we
can’t make changes. Can anyone help us regain control?”

When it comes to managing your reputation and social pages, trust can only go so far. You absolutely have to know what is being said about you and your business, and, more importantly, what the responses are or have been. Below are 7 tips to help you take action today:

  1. Create your own pages. If your company doesn’t have social pages created yet, create them yourself, then add an employee or outside management company as an administrator — not the other way around. This helps you control who logs in where and how.
  2. Amend agreements when relationship shifts. For an employee, ask your HR rep to amend both the job description and employee agreement to include the social media management duties (be as detailed as possible). For an outside management company, make sure the contract details exactly what the scope of social media management will be, and what isn’t included.
  3. Use editorial and posting calendars. Take an active part in the marketing direction of your posts and conversations. Strategically plan which posts should be announced on certain days/times, and determine the best platform(s) to make the announcements. Try adding a short signup form to a free white paper download and measure results. This allows you to see what is being said in your business’ name.
  4. Require reports. Ask for regular monthly reports. Pay close attention to areas such as best posting days/times, sentiment, best monthly posts, and influence. The best monthly posts should show you who created these posts, what the level of engagement was, and the responses.
  5. Create a social media policy handbook. Put in writing exactly what can and can’t be posted or discussed about your business on social media platforms. Include your definition of “intellectual property” and “sensitive information”. Decide on a “disaster strategy” should your business receive any negative sentiment or feedback. Share this with your board of directors, strategic partners, contractors and employees.
  6. Set up Google alerts. Decide on keywords and phrases you want to watch and be alerted to if used, including both your name and your business’ name. These alerts can be delivered via Google Gmail. Set up this Gmail address on your mobile device to keep you closer to potential issues, allowing you to proactively respond.
  7. Change passwords. If your company and the employee or outside management company have a parting of the ways, ask your HR rep to draw up a short form with two signature lines, indicating the employee or representative does not possess any of your intellectual property and are being requested to not post any negative comments about your company. As soon as the relationship is dissolved, change all passwords immediately.

If an employee or company doesn’t want to play by your rules, don’t hire them. Creating guidelines and processes for your company’s social media practices allows your business to be social and engage with
your audience online while putting the necessary controls in place to manage your reputation.

Be strategic. Be visible. Be found.