Determining a social media strategy requires an inordinate amount of forethought and planning. You must examine your target audience, your social channels, your messaging, and make sure that your product or service is in alignment with all of the above. Just when you think you’ve thought of everything, someone mentions reputation management. What exactly is reputation management and why is it important to your social media strategy?

What You Say About You

Oftentimes, when organizations are looking to dive into social media, they tend to view it from the standpoint of corporate communications. You know the intention of your message. You know the reason for your product or service. You believe in what you are selling and the content that you are sharing on your website and social media channels reflects as much. There is a drastic difference in corporate communications and social media, however. Corporate communications is primarily written to those who already have a vested interest in your company. With social media, you could be speaking to anyone. What you say about yourself or your company may or may not land with your Twitter follower. Their perception of your organization may be completely different than what you intended.

What They Say About You

Every organization has a reputation. This is, of course, based on the content and messaging that you put out into the ethersphere. It is also based upon your timing, acknowledgement of, engagement and response to what is said about you. Your online reputation will determine how well your company succeeds in the world of social media. You are not only vying for the attention of potential followers, your competition is in the same space. This is when your reputation really stands out.

Purchasing decisions in the modern age aren’t made by producing a great commercial or an ad in the newspaper. Most consumers look for recommendations from friends and family. They read reviews. They’re interested in feedback from others who have used your services or purchased your products. A 2014 survey of consumers revealed the following statistics:

  • 57% of consumers looked online for a local business
  • 88% of consumers look at reviews to help them make a purchasing decision
  • 85% of consumers say they read up to 10 reviews before they feel like they can trust a business

With most of the world on the internet and most consumers researching before purchasing, it is up to you to make sure your online reputation reveals a trustworthy business who cares about its customers.

Reputation Management

Reputation management entails 3 things:

  • Social listening and monitoring
  • Analysis and identification of sentiment
  • Response and recovery

Social listening and monitoring collects content about your brand on the various social networks, blogs, press releases and other news sources. Listening is vitally important for awareness of what is being said about your brand.

The content generated from listening and monitoring is then carefully analyzed to identify the overall sentiment of your online reputation. This information will help determine if your general reputation is positive or negative.

As you determine the general sentiment and review the content collected around your brand, you will then be able to assess a response and possible recovery to what has been said about you. This may entail asking for more positive reviews to push a negative review off of page one of a search engine results page. This could entail reviewing and reworking your website or social media messaging. Reputation management allows you to have an elevated view of your online reputation and empowers you to take control.

In summary, your marketing strategy should include reputation management. A marketing strategy should include listening and monitoring what is being said about your organization and brand online. Reputation management allows you to respond and, in many cases, be proactive with those who are wondering if they should trust your brand or purchase your product or service. Creating an effective process of collecting content, analyzing it and generating a response may be one of the most important parts of your social marketing strategy.

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