How Can Social Media Help Business Strategy?

Social media is one of the most important, fastest growing parts of the internet. This term loosely refers to platforms and apps that allow users to create and share content, whilst at the same time participate in social networking. At first glance, social media might seem to be geared toward private individuals, but more and more businesses are finding these platforms to be a vital marketing asset.

Professional social media pages are key in any reputation management strategy. At Reputation Defender we help company brands to boost their online profile by improving search rankings and presenting a positive cohesive brand message. Official social media profiles are a target page one result, as well as a place to promote other content.

Social Media for Business

Business focused social media is all about using social channels to connect and engage with customers and build long term relationships. Of the many social media platforms, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are the most important for focusing an initial business strategy.

The social media audience is vast. Globally, 1.55 billion people use Facebook per month; about 72 percent of all people active on the internet. Of these, 70 percent say they interact on a daily basis. By contrast, only 38 percent of Twitter users and 22 percent of LinkedIn account holders are active daily. None the less, Twitter is one of the most popular microblogging platforms with 341 million active monthly users, whilst LinkedIn is largely seen as the most official social media business directory.

Facebook

A business Facebook profile offers a chance to interact with customers on a personal level via a trusted platform. Followers will begin to see the business in the same way they view their friends. They’ll look forward to regular posts that are genuine and thoughtful.

At the same time, Facebook offers a way for new clients to find out important details about your business such as location, history and contact info. It’s important to claim your brand name as a keyword and link back to the company website through your business profile. You can also add a “Like us on Facebook” button to the company website. Facebook will offer different templates depending on the type of business to let you target the audience you want to reach.

Many Facebook features are designed to make the platform accessible and useful for business purposes. Call to action buttons introduced in 2014 offer suggestions for customer activity such as “contact us”, “book now” or “sign up.” One click will take the client straight to the desired page, so this is a very effective way of driving traffic to your website. Typical business posts can share brand-based videos, images and blog articles. A Facebook page can also be used to advertise a special offer or promote client feedback. Sponsored advertising campaigns disseminate material even more efficiently and ensures that all followers see all your posts, while Facebook Analytics will help to pinpoint your current activity level and target improvement.

Twitter

Like Facebook, Twitter can be used to interact with customers, promote material and increase awareness for your product. A business profile should promote the business name, target an important keyword and link back to the official company website. A logo and other professional images can give the account a more personal touch.

Tweets can be leveraged for business purposes by promoting a specific marketing message. Tools such as TweetDeck and Periscope allow for multimedia tweets, while the hashtag system targets a specific topic zone. Like Facebook, Twitter offers paid advertising for businesses that want to maximize the marketing aspect of their account and Twitter Analytics offers tools for analyzing strategies and measuring success.

LinkedIn

As a professional networking site, LinkedIn carries more authority than Facebook or Twitter. This platform offers the opportunity to connect with colleagues and industry leaders, recruit potential employees and gain referrals. Managers will need a personal page to set up a business profile on LinkedIn, so this is the perfect opportunity to build your own career along with the company’s reputation. A Premium Account offers enhanced opportunities for profile viewing and targeted searches.

Like Facebook and Twitter, a business profile on LinkedIn should include all the company’s details and link back to the website. LinkedIn allows several different administrators, so it’s easy to delegate account management tasks to other employees. Showcase Pages on LinkedIn lets you target additional keywords and highlight specific company products and services. You can also post job applications and send targeted email marketing.

Fine-tune Your Profiles

In contrast to traditional advertising, social media is about connecting personally with customers whilst sharing the brand message. Especially on Facebook and Twitter, it’s important to strike a balance between promotion and providing genuinely interesting content that will make people want to follow your page.

  • Keep advertising in check – Out of 7 posts, only 1 should be obviously promotional.
  • Ask questions – Find out which industry related topics interest your followers the most.
  • Post fun facts – You’ll gain authority and help clients learn more about what you do.
  • Provide valuable tips – People will keep following to learn more.
  • Offer rewards – Organize a contest or offer points for virtual check-ins at your business.

A dedicated group of social media followers is a valuable reputational asset for any business. It increases customer retention and provides a long term client base which will help to counteract negative publicity in the future.

How Can I Get People To View My Website?

Getting people to view your website is a vital part of any internet marketing campaign and also an important ORM tactic. A high organic click through rate (CTR) translates into conversions that will boost the company’s client base. While CTR isn’t formally listed as one of Google’s direct algorithmic ranking factors, it does indirectly affect the SERP and helps to determine whether a website will hold its place at the top of the search page.

Reputation Defender’s online brand promotion services include a wide range of strategies that will drive up traffic to your company’s official site. There are multiple reasons why people may be directed to your site, from finding it on a search page, to hearing it mentioned on social media, or seeing your name on a conference flyer.

Here are some of the ways to create buzz around your company site:

Become a Social Media Expert

Official social media profiles are a must for any company interested in developing an online profile. Once these pages are created, use them to generate activity and direct people back to your website.

  • Start with the basics – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and of course Google+.
  • Share articles – It’s important to share blog articles and other brand content.
  • Share pictures – Profiles on Instagram, Flickr, and Pinterest are good places to upload images that can be shared on other pages.
  • Include video content – Post videos to YouTube and share them on social media sites. Use Periscope and Facebook Live to incorporate a live feed to your page.
  • Create content that is innately shareable – Use SlideShare or design infographics that maximize the visual impact of the message.
  • Add links – Make sure there is a website link on all social media profiles.
  • Call to action – Adding these buttons on Facebook and other social platforms will let you direct traffic to a specific action page.
  • Add social sharing buttons on blog articles and website pages – This will encourage people to link to your content on their own pages.
  • Re-share articles – Don’t assume all followers have seen an article after one share. Buffer and Edgar are 2 apps that will automatically re-share content at scheduled times.
  • Do a “Share Exchange” – Reach out to a similar sized account and offer to share their content (including a website link) if they will return the favor. This can open up reach to a whole new audience.
  • Don’t forget about these sites:
  • Quora – Generate material by answering questions that relate to your industry.
  • Reddit – There are a lot of rules against spamming on Reddit but if you take the time to build a profile that’s known for posting genuine and informative content, there can be a big payoff in site traffic. Once you have a following, try showing off your expertise by hosting an AMA (Ask Me Anything) session.
  • Product Hunt – Submit a physical or digital product to Product Hunt’s “list of cool new things”.
  • Lesser known social media – Tumblr, Snapchat, Buzznet, WhatsApp, About.me etc.
Target Your Email Audience

There’s a narrower exposure window but email can still be an important way of gaining regular customers who visit your site often.

  • Email outreach – Send targeted emails about new products on your site and include a link.
  • Embedded link – Put a website link in your email signature.
  • Autoresponder – Add a link and an invitation to find out more on the company website.
Get the Company in the News

If your brand is in the news regularly, people will start to recognize it as an authority.

  • Pitch an interesting new product – Blogs are always looking for good stories. They may be thrilled to learn about something that would interest their audience and you will subsequently gain exposure.
  • Google News – If the site puts out regular updates, you may be able to register it a news source with Google. There are specific content rules here, since Google is resistant to news releases that are basically marketing, but sites that comply will gain a big audience.
  • HARO (Help a Reporter Out) – Sign up to be interviewed as an expert in your industry and link to the article on your website and social profiles.
Convert Offline Contacts

In person, contacts can turn into website traffic when people go online to learn more about your business or product. Here are some ways to make this happen:

  • Business cards – Create a personal or brand business card that includes your company’s website address.
  • Posters – Display the website address prominently in all physical locations.
  • Pass out promotional gifts – Hand out pens, stickers or tote bags bearing the company logo and website.
  • Build a mailing list – Ask face-to-face customers for their email.
  • Network – Attend an industry related conference. Share information about the conference on social media pages and write an article about your experience. You could even offer to sponsor relatable events.
  • Help customers get to know you – Organize a workshop or conference where people can learn more about your product and how to use it.

Generating fresh website traffic will be an ongoing campaign. It begins with generating interest in the brand through genuine content and personal interaction. It is then important to give clear and easy directions to additional information via the company’s website. Use a variety of platforms, as suggested in the list above, to give the company the best chance of connecting with the most people. For more help with building an effective campaign, contact our online marketing experts at Reputation Defender.

UK E-mail: uksales@reputationdefender.com

Tel: (+44) 800 131 0700

US E-mail: support@reputationdefender.com

Tel: (888) 851-9609

6 Strategies to Improve Your Online Reputation as an Athlete on Twitter

When it comes to personal goals and challenges, there’s a piece of advice that can be really useful: Keep in mind that your challenge may be extraordinary, but if nobody knows it, it’ll be just for you. Have you thought about it? What would your answer be? Do you know how to sell your personal brand through the social networks? Caring about your online reputation is vital for you to get your challenge to go beyond being one more challenge by yet another athlete, and getting it to be a special challenge by a different athlete. You will make a difference, and your message will inspire others just like you.

Let’s take a look at a number of points that you should consider in order to improve the image of your very own personal brand. The variables we’ll see are aimed at making your “digital self” dazzle, and be more effective in this microblogging social network. That way you’ll successfully achieve your goals.

  1. Define your identity.

On Twitter, your profile will say a lot about you, so you need to make your identity a reflection of your own self. The first is to fill your biography, which summarizes who you are and what you do. Choose a good photo, one that will help people recognize you, and, of course, that emits a positive attitude. Give importance to the design. And we’re talking about colors and quotes to be inserted. You should aim to be remembered, and giving an impression that lasts over time. Be original, be different.

  1. Don’t follow already defined strategies.

You may have read a thousand times that the best formula is to have a strategy. However, you should do the opposite of that. Our advice is for you to be natural and simply be yourself. As strange as this may sound, the best prospect to project your brand image through Twitter is that you see it as a channel to encourage conversation. At the end of the day, that’s what it is. Get in touch with people, interact with them.

  1. Keep your contents under control.

An online presence is vital, but it doesn’t mean that you have to publish content at all hours. Everything should be done in moderation and with a common sense. It is necessary for you to choose well the content that you’ll share, and for the contents to be consistent with the messages you want to project. Respond to queries, answer questions from other users, and if you have something to contribute in the different threads of a conversation, don’t think twice and just do it. Your roadmap to follow is none other than to generate empathy with what you share and the people who follow you.

Image courtesy of hank Mitchell at Flickr.com
Image courtesy of hank Mitchell at Flickr.com
  1. Refine your space.

Your scope should follow a specific community. Focus on sharing the things you know about, and in the specific sport in which you are an accomplished sportsperson. Choose a specific topic.

For instance, if you are a triathlete, focus your content to show your experiences in triathlon. Do not try to cover other disciplines.

You are wrong if you look for the perfect tweet with which to “seduce” hundreds or even thousands of followers. It’s better to have an impact on a small group, but on a greater number of occasions. Your messages will not only become viral, but they’ll manage to inspire your loyal followers.

  1. Don’t follow for the sake of it.

Some time ago, it became fashionable to start following Twitter profiles indiscriminately in order to get a follow back. You can even buy followers if you put your mind -and money- to it, since there are online services to do this. But that’s not the goal.

We’re talking about a desire to empathize with our community, to show our sponsors that we have potential customers for their products. Look for other interesting accounts and look at what they publish. Start by following some tops in your field that will define the sports area where you move, but then quickly move to mid-level users, those with 200 to 1,600 followers belonging to your segment. Be active. Those are statistically more likely to follow you.

  1. Be patient and write well.

Do not try to run before putting on your shoes and tying your shoelaces. Rushing is never a good thing, and you should keep in mind that your personal image on Twitter -or other social networks- will not build itself overnight. You must work on it, generate interesting contents and add value. This will lead you to build credibility and trust in the legion of followers who are waiting to hear you share stories, experiences and sporting challenges.

6 Ways to Reduce Negative Comments About Your Business

Public relations crises happen. It’s not possible to please everyone all the time and every business will eventually face someone who is unhappy. Unfortunately many disgruntled customers voice their feelings in a manner that can threaten to damage the company’s reputation permanently, including publishing negative comments online.

There are ways to reduce the number of dissatisfied clients and negative comments in any business. Basically, providing good service will make your customers happy and keep negative publicity from becoming an endemic problem. Additionally, how you respond to criticism can decide whether it turns into a major or a minor issue. This isn’t a substitute for the kind of online reputation management we do at ReputationDefender ®, but it will make it much easier to get your online publicity back on track with minimal effort.

Here are six specific ways to increase client satisfaction.

  • Respond in a timely manner

    The majority of customer complaints are due to slow response times. If a client sends an email and three days later they haven’t heard from you, they’re likely to take to the internet in frustration. You can avoid this by setting clear guidelines for response times. 24-48 hours is appropriate depending on your email volume, but make sure this is clearly indicated next to your contact information. A simple response indicating the email is being processed can help let customers know they are a priority. On social media, customers expect an even quicker answer. 1 hour to be exact.

  • Practice good communication

    Responding to your customer’s needs will facilitate every type of interaction. This includes effective communication, whether it’s online or in person. Good listening is a skill that is typically thought of in terms or personal relationships, but it’s just as necessary in a business setting. Active listening will help to build trust by making the client feel you care. You’ll also be able to tailor your services more specifically to their needs. Building a strong communication platform at the beginning of the relationship will make it easier to handle difficult issues as the work progresses.

  • Use every day language

    The client enlisted your services in a specialist area because they lack this expertise themselves. If you use jargon and acronyms specific to your field, they’ll likely feel confused about what you really mean. Speaking plain English whenever possible will help the client understand what you are doing. It’s important to sound knowledgeable, but avoid talking down to a client. Remember they are also an expert in their own field.

  • Meet deadlines

    There’s really no good reason for missing a deadline after the fact. If the timeline for resolving an issue becomes impossible, this should be communicated to a client well beforehand. Describe what happened that made the work take longer and set a more reasonable deadline.

  • Take responsibility

    Blaming a specific employee or team won’t clear your company’s reputation since you hired and trained these people. It’s better to present a united front and let the company as a whole take responsibility for the issue. A general statement indicating that internal changes are being made to address the issue is appropriate, but clients don’t need to know the specifics of who’s at fault.

  • Don’t get angry at negative comments

    Your business is personal but keeping a cool head is essential. If a customer is posting negative comments to simply antagonise you, it is better to not take the bait. Social media fails and wins have massive potential to go viral so proceed carefully. If you have done all you can and feel that you aren’t getting anywhere in your attempts to make amends, avoid escalation by disengaging from the argument.

    You can now read Reputation Defender’s new blog post on the importance of online reviews and learn how positive online feedback can help to promote your business.

In the middle of a reputation crisis? Call us:

UK E-mail: uksales@reputationdefender.com

Tel: (+44) 800 131 0700

US E-mail: support@reputationdefender.com

Tel: (888) 851-9609

Bad reputation in social networks? Learn how to deal with it!

People use social networks as the main platforms for discussing and denouncing what they dislike: politicians, brands, companies, celebrities, other people or daily life issues. Because of the growing power of diffusion that social networks offer to everyone, a short negative message may produce a chain-reaction reputation crisis –sometimes, in a matter of minutes. – Therefore, it is necessary for organizations and brands to take seriously their presence in social networks and spending time to efficiently address situations that may result in injury to their digital identity and reputation.

The starting point for improving your reputation, once it is spoiled in social networks is engaging conversations between individuals: businessman to consumer. It´s crucial. People hate to fight against complex organizations, composed of several employees that never answer any complain because it’s not their jobs and “those are company policies”, and prefer to find representatives that talk one to one with them. The problem is that the more power the customer gets (thanks to those personal interactions), the more sensitive he/she becomes about the result of such interactions, and then he/she complains online and bad reputation spreads.

It doesn’t always happen, but if it does, you need to act fast before a crisis takes place. After planning what to do, it is necessary to monitor social networks and stay alert to respond in advance to all problems that may arise. Anticipating and responding fast may end a crisis successfully. Remember: those reputation crisis may take minutes to happen through Twitter or Facebook. In consequence, it is extremely important to know what to do and to do it fast. If you have never experienced such situations before, the best you can do is to hire a professional ORM company like Reputation Defender, which will evaluate, design and test a good strategy in social networks when building the reputation of your brand or institution.

Some basic and useful tips before developing an action plan are:

1) It is important to watch social networks constantly: what people complain about, which are the trends, what kind of comments are published about your company. Understand that this is not a waste of time.

2) Today is very easy to know what they are thinking about you. Being aware of your reputation is something that google can tell in you in seconds. Take advantage of the immediate information you can get about your brand, and take control.

3) Never give for granted what people say on social networks about you, about your company or about your industry. It is vital to pay the necessary attention to the opinions of users, no matter how mistaken or ridiculous they sound.

4) Users usually don’t care about your public apologies, especially if they are long. They just complain and they will maybe forget what bothered them after being in touch with the tons of information they absorb every day. However, your silence won’t help either and you should say something and be brief. Remember that a well-written tweet could be powerful enough to change your image.

5) It doesn’t matter how bad your reputation is. There are hundreds of examples of companies and celebrities that managed to get out of the ditch. It is a huge work that must be performed by experts, but it´s never impossible.

Image courtesy of John Taylor at Flickr.com
Image courtesy of John Taylor at Flickr.com

Then, to establish a good communication policy that helps the company prevent future crises on social networks, will require much work and steadily. However, sometimes it is impossible to prevent a user discontent throw an incendiary tweet, a video inconvenient or unfavorable campaign against the company and cause a crisis. In this case, we recommend the following steps:

A) The crisis must be managed internally. It is important that the company has a team that knows its functions well and may react fast. The company must establish who is in charge in each area, and which are the direct communication channels for getting in touch with users. Then establish an internal communication system to always have the necessary information and stay updated.

B) Locate the source of the problem. Evaluate the nature of any critical comment (customer dissatisfaction, rumors, attacks, communication problems, etc.) and the type of user who publishes it (influencers, regular customers, trolls, etc.). Keep in mind that defining a problem and understanding it enough is the beginning of its solution.

C) Respond immediately. Time is one of the variables that bring more trouble to companies in a crisis of online reputation. You must act as fast as possible: the sooner the appropriate response occurs, the less opportunities you give the crisis to become viral. In addition, the answer to solve the problem must be offered in the same scenario where the crisis began.

(You may also like 5 Easy Steps to handle Any PR Crisis.)