The annual update of What Happens in an Internet Minute tells us that last year, every 60 seconds there were more than 200,000 people tweeting, 695,000 Stories posted on Instagram, 500 hours of content uploaded to YouTube and 5,000 downloads of TikTok. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to online activity.
Whether your brand has a presence online or not, the conversation will still be happening. If consumers want to show off, praise, or complain about a product or brand, you can guarantee they’ll take to social media and post their thoughts there. Consumers will react as they choose, all publicly where their followers (and everyone else) can observe and engage.
So how do you control how people talk about your brand online? The simple answer is that you can’t, BUT you can influence and respond, and that has a huge impact on your online reputation.
Simply having a good social media presence helps consumers to make their minds up about making a transaction with a brand. It is a general expectation now that businesses will be on at least one of the major social media platforms. It’s not 100% necessary to have a full customer service function across all platforms, but engaging in a space where your target consumers are spending their digital time is critical for reputation management.
How to tackle social media as a business and keep your reputation intact
Any social media activity needs to be linked to your wider comms plan and support broader activity plans, and also requires slightly different marketing ‘muscles’. You can’t just set up the profiles and expect them to take care of themselves, or see it as a platform to use sporadically and think people will automatically engage. It requires commitment, time and on-brand content to be a success.
Content is key but ensure quality over quantity. While regular posts are important, it is essential that the content shared is of a decent quality. This doesn’t mean all photos or videos have to be by professional content creators, a decent iPhone shot works just as well, as long as it is framed well, clear, bright and uncluttered. Make sure your content is tailored to the different platforms. Aside from the obvious format differences, it’s important to consider how users consume content on different platforms: Twitter should be short, snappy and fast; Instagram users want beautiful imagery; while TikTok is all about engaging (entertaining, informative, educational etc.) video content.
When you’re managing a brand social media account you should be:
When social media goes wrong… how should you react?
There are some horror stories about how brands have reacted when things went wrong on social media – crucially, you can’t bury your head in the sand. Just deleting a post and hoping it’ll go away isn’t an effective strategy (or, in fact, a strategy at all) – it will have been seen, potentially shared, and Google may well have indexed it already, so it’ll still exist somewhere on the web and tring to pretend that it isn’t will have the complete opposite effect to what you’re hoping for.
Depending on the severity of the situation, this is where your crisis comms planning may need to come into play. Ensuring the social media team knows how to escalate a situation if and when needed, and that they take the conversations offline ASAP. Don’t carry out any individual back and forth in public – resolve the issue in a non-public forum. Usually, if it is dealt with satisfactorily, the user with the gripe will come full circle on their public story and update their followers, or at the very least, stop sharing negative comments.
People are far more forgiving if they see you learning – admitting to a mistake and actively making changes to address the issue and correct things going forward goes a long way. It’s true that negatives can be turned into positives when they are handled well.
If you plan well, give online activity the time and commitment it needs and remember that, ultimately, it’s simply a conversation between humans, it’s not as scary a place as it might seem.
Find out how we can help you and your business maximise the power of social media and tackle any crisis comms with ease, please do get in touch!