Your online reputation is vital to your company’s success
In a previous article, we outlined the importance of taking control of your company’s reputation by finding out where you stand and how to get started on your business’ social media journey. Now, we are going to outline a few best practices when it comes to managing those social media profiles.
Social media has become an invaluable tool that can help you reach new audiences, gain reviews, manage your company’s reputation, and most importantly, it provides a space where you can instantly engage with your consumer base, so we want to make sure you are fully equipped to manage a space where your clients are able to leave you instant public feedback!
Commit To Authenticity
With social media, you have the opportunity to build trust in your business before you ever even meet the customer. In this day and age, trust is one of the most important things your business can have. In a 2013 study conducted by the Boston Consulting Group, customers identified authenticity as one of the top qualities that would attract them to a brand.
The Journal of Consumer Psychology defines authenticity as, “The extent to which consumers perceive a brand to be faithful toward itself, true to its consumers, motivated by caring and responsibility, and able to support consumers in being true to themselves.”
It makes sense that authenticity is important to consumers. People want transparency, and certainly don’t want to feel like a company is pulling one over on them. People want to have some sense about what a business’ beliefs and values are, and whether or not they might align with their own. Having trust in a company means that a customer sees that business as worth taking the risk of investing their time and money into.
In order to build an authentic brand, you have to have a deep understanding of your company’s core values, and then show your commitment to those values in the things you post and the way you engage with your followers.
Share Your Brand’s Story
At the heart of it all, social media profiles offer a place where you are able to show your brand or business the way you want to be seen. You have a unique opportunity to give your business a voice and share it, not only with your most loyal following, but also with an untold number of potential future clients and fans! I personally follow a small ice cream shop in Portland, a city I don’t live in, just because I like their fun and engaging Instagram profile. Customers don’t only care about what you are selling and at what price; more and more, they also consider and care about who you are. People genuinely like stories, and adding a personal element to your brand gives them something to connect with or relate to.
Telling your brand’s story means giving your customers a look into who you are as a company and why your company exists. When deciding to put something on social media, decide if your post answers any of the following questions:
- Who are you?
- What do you do?
- Why do you do it?
- How do you do it?
- What’s next?
Deciding what your story is and how you share it can add some much-needed integrity to your social media profiles, and can give you a sense of direction when it comes to navigating how and what to post.
You don’t have to overthink what it means to share your story. It can be as simple as sharing behind-the-scenes stories of the day-to-day work life, giving a sneak peak at a new product that’s coming out, putting a spotlight on one staff member, sharing an infographic or educational article, posting a photo of the inside of your shop before you open for the day, talking about how your business uses sustainably-sourced products and why, or talking about a charitable cause you are raising money and awareness for.
Engage With Your Followers
In our last article, Using Social Media to Improve Your Reputation, we talked about finding and setting a tone for your business. By now, you know that using social media is a great way to keep in touch with your clients, your community, and your potential customers. As we discussed in that previous post, with social media, you are also able to set the tone for how you would like your business to be seen by others. Do you want to be known for your unwavering professionalism, your playfulness, or maybe your approachableness? There’s not really a right answer here, but it is best to decide on a tone and stick with it. By setting the tone, your customers know what to expect from you when they engage with you online, and it is very important to show them that they CAN reach you. This all adds on to the idea of trust and authenticity.
Liking someone’s comment on your picture, or leaving a quick message or response, shows them that you are paying attention, shows them you care, and gives them the sense that you are bought in to them and their experience. Social media makes it fun and easy to connect, chat, and engage with the people who enjoy your business.
In addition to connecting with your client base, social media sites have also become a place where customers can go for their customer service requests or to leave a review of your product or service. No matter what kind of feedback you are getting on social media, you have the chance to respond, so make sure you always do so quickly and directly. Show the public that you are listening, and show them that you care.
Don’t underestimate the power of reviews. According to BrightLocal, 88 percent of consumers trust online reviews from other customers just as much as they would recommendations from peers. It’s important to keep in mind that people take notice of online reviews and your response, or lack thereof, to them.
In a previous article, How to Handle Bad Reviews, we listed out a more comprehensive strategy for handling and responding to the inevitable negative reviews you will get. Make your life easier by having a policy in place when it comes time to craft your response. Remember to always be professional and direct, address their concerns, and move the conversation into DMs, email, or over the phone.
Social media is also a great place to gather positive reviews and experiences from your customer base. When people share a photo of themselves enjoying time in your store, wearing your merch, or enjoying your hand-cut french fries, like their photo and ask if you can use it yourself! Plenty of businesses repost customer photos in their Instagram stories, showing their clients that they are seen and that your business cares about them and their experience. Not only does this make that one customer feel special, but other customers might then go and post photos using your products to get the chance at being featured themselves!
Take the first step towards being in control of your online reputation with Top Rated Local!
Your business’ online reputation is undoubtedly linked to online reviews and the way people engage with you and your business on social media. Top Rated Local has the resources you need to stay on top of your reviews and reputation. Best of all, listing your business with Top Rated Local is free!