The Importance of Reputation Management on Social Media

What can your business proactively do to mitigate your social risk?

This article was originally published in the IABC CW Observer.

The importance of reputation and risk management on social media is crucial in today’s world where a tweet can be crafted in a matter of seconds, but have a lasting impact on a brand. There have been far too many instances where businesses have gotten into hot water on social media; with a negative or inappropriate comment, rogue employee post, etc. and have not responded promptly and effectively. A reputation management plan that covers social media, in addition to other company initiatives, is something that all businesses need to adopt in 2017. 22% of the world’s population are on social media, and 76% of those users are logged on every single day. Social media is here to stay and as communication professionals we need to understand how to handle interactions properly and be proactive when engaging online.

Social media can help to grow your business, aid you in reaching your target audience, act as a customer service platform and increase brand awareness, but only when utilized effectively. As businesses, we shouldn’t be afraid to use social media, we should embrace it for the rich communication channel it is, but also do our best to try and prevent brand damaging issues BEFORE they happen.

Below are a few different examples of social media mishaps; what can we learn from these mistakes and improve within our own businesses?

1. One large and unfortunately frequent trend amongst social media fails is when the social media manager is logged into the wrong account and tweets something that was intended for their personal account, not their company’s account. This could be easily prevented with a social media management tool and the option of user permissions.

2. Mishandled responses are another form of risk, typically this is the company responding with “too little, too late” and being unable to rectify a situation that has unfolded online at that point.

3. Misguided posts can lead to brand reputation issues when utilizing a hashtag that was not thought through, or not fully researching images or topics you are creating content around and blindly posting them to your audience.

4. Automation for social media is handy in some situations, but not when personal touches are required. Many brands have had bad experiences with automated responses, whether thanking a disgruntled customer for their support or auto-responding to a rogue follower for their fans to see.

For more specific examples, here are Entrepreneur’s top 12 worst social media fails of 2016.

In addition to these, view Forbes’ 7 worst (and most amusing) mistakes brands have ever made on social media.

These stories can seem amusing or funny, until it happens to your brand! How do you prevent something like this from happening at your expense? Doing your research before you create a message, understanding the hashtags that you are about to use, being prepared with a plan if something you post doesn’t go as initially scoped out, have a social media management tool in place to monitor your feeds and mentions, proofread everything and finally, enlist a 2-step approval process, if necessary.

• Do your research: A lot of times companies are trying to do the right thing, but end up publishing something with missing or incorrect facts. Before creating a post around a certain topic, be sure to do the research to back up the findings and content you are about to post.

• Understand hashtag meanings: This is an important step, look up the meaning of a hashtag before you add it into your messages with your own definition behind it.

• Utilize a social media management tool: Using a tool will enable your brand to better manage your pages, users, account information, analytics and community feeds in one central location. Staying Organized and vigilant is key.

• Proofread with 2-step approvals: Having a 2-step approval process removes room for error when creating new content - whether that’s the understanding of the content or even a simple typo.

Protecting your reputation online is something that all brands are concerned with, whether small or large. How your brand is perceived by your audience is important and can make or break a business. Ensuring that you have a reputation management and response game plan is one step closer to more strategic communication on social media.

This article was originally published in the IABC CW Observer.