Deloitte’s 2014 global survey on reputation risk, Reputation@Risk, suggests that 87% of company executives surveyed believe that reputation risk is ‘more important’ or ‘a lot more important’ than any other strategic risk facing their firms.
It has become very important for businesses to detect and respond to things that are being said about them online, as user-generated content, such as blogs, reviews, forums and online chat, increases.
Social media facts
Social media has dominated the last decade helping companies and individuals to engage with other users through blogs, articles, online discussions, and generally allowing them to have a voice in the digital landscape. According to Social Media Examiner, ‘a significant 92% of marketers indicate that social media is important for their business, up from 86% in 2013’.
Through social media you can create a presence online, building your reputation and creating positive content for Google search results for your name. Even if it is hard to monitor what it is said about you online, it is really beneficial to build and manage your profile by using social media. According to Social Media Examiner, Facebook and LinkedIn are ‘the two most important social networks for marketers’.
How can you use social media to manage your reputation online?
- Chose the right social media
People often engage with as many social media platforms as they can, thinking that more platforms will provide better results. However, if a platform is not relevant to your target audience, it won’t be effective. Don’t forget to consider your target audience. Where are they? What do they expect from you? For example, a fashion company may focus on Instagram and Pinterest, which promote images, while a doctor or an engineer may chose LinkedIn, which is a professional network.
- Search Engine Optimisation for your Content
The first thing you need to optimise is your profile. By using relevant key phrases you will make it easier for users to find you through their searches. In some networks, such as LinkedIn and Google Plus, you create a unique URL for yourself, which could work as an SEO keyword. This unique URL could strengthen the authority of your profile and establish you as a real professional.
It is also essential to optimise all of your posts. First, you need to create a strong headline that incorporates the keywords you want to target. Next, you need to create a text for specific search terms, including optimised phrases. Also, an anchor from a high authority site, such as a link to a report or article, an infographic, a presentation, or even an e-book, could help to maximise your chances of ranking higher in the first page of search results.
- Set up as an expert by creating content
Data from the Content Marketing Institute showed that 92% of marketers surveyed employ the use of a content marketing strategy; up from 91% in 2012, and this number grew throughout 2014.
Unique, authoritative and useful content can be shared with your audience, by broadcasting the articles through social media networks. You could also create relevant hashtags or upload your content on groups to gain visibility and build a buzz around you, and enhancing your online reputation.
Links are important too, as the more you get from high authority sites, the higher authority you will gain on Google. Content increases opportunities for social sharing, helping you to engage your audience and attract new followers to your page.
- Respond to the reviews
You need to address what people are saying about your brand online and respond in the real-time with an effective strategy. Data from Hubshout shows that 72% of customers expect brands to reply within an hour. Your customers need to feel heard and acknowledged, and they want to receive positive and thoughtful responses. The worst thing you can do is to ignore them or delete their comments. By not responding you risk destroying your relationship with the customer and wider audience.
- Increase your number of followers
The number of followers in your social media networks can present a significant influence on your rankings. A company with a million followers, for example, has a good chance of ranking well in the search results. It is essential to follow people organically in order to build a high authority profile. Google is able to detect the quality of each follower, so buying followers (which is possible) won’t necessarily improve your ranking ability.
To achieve high numbers of followers, you should post useful blogs and articles, relevant hashtags, answer enquiries and start discussions regularly. Interacting with your audience, allows more customer engagements, which will help you to start discussions around your company. Also, you follow back every new follower, encouraging them to return to your profile.