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In the modern age where social networking and other online tools are so prevalent, your business needs to be conscious of its online reputation. It is important to manage the online reputation of your business for a competitive advantage in your industry, to build your reputation as a thought leader and expert, and to drive engagement and credibility for your business. There are a number of ways you can manage and build your reputation using social media. Here are our top four tips.
1. Develop a robust social media strategy
Developing a comprehensive social media strategy will help you manage your online reputation effectively, as well as ensure you are using the right platforms, engaging with your target audience and monitoring your accounts appropriately. No matter what social media platform you use, following these rules in your strategy will help you succeed:
- Be focused: It is important to define your niche and focus your social media activity there. Understand your target audience by looking into their demographics, behaviours and interests.
- Be authentic: Don’t view social media as a marketing platform, imagine you are talking to someone in real life. What would you say to them?
- Be meaningful: The content you publish must be useful and meaningful to your target audience or they will not read or engage with it.
- Be aware: Listen to the conversations happening on social media about your business and your industry. You will be amazed at the insights it will bring.
2. Pick the right social media platforms
When starting out on social media, select one platform that is the most appropriate for your business. As you become more familiar with social media, start integrating other platforms.
Major platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn can be an excellent place to start. However, the most important thing to consider is which social networks your target audience are using. LinkedIn for example, is an excellent platform for B2B professionals wishing to build contacts and generate sales leads.
3. Create conversations
Social media allows you to exchange ideas and form relationships with your target audience. Posting unique and interesting content, instead of blasting promotional messages to users, will establish a strong reputation for your business. If you are running out of ideas for content, some helpful tips include:
- Put your fans first: People love posts they can identify with, such as the approaching weekend or holiday plans.
- Tell your success stories: Success stories are interesting to read, and clearly demonstrate the value you can offer. Also ask your customers for feedback and testimonials.
- Share news and events updates: Sharing current industry news and events will demonstrate you are a leader in the field.
- Behind the scenes: Let your audience see what happens behind the scenes of your business to showcase your brand and let people know you.
4. Start blogging
Having a blog will build your profile as an industry expert and leader. Blogs are all about sharing useful information with your clients and customers, which will also attract more traffic to your site. Blogs are extremely easy to start up and use, making them an ideal platform for your business to publish quality and interesting content. What you write is up to you, but try to spark discussion and share experiences, ideas and relevant information. To build traffic, read other blogs and comment on them so that it links back to your own blog. Using social media effectively is an excellent way to engage with current and potential clients, attracting more customers and most importantly, building a strong, positive online reputation for your business.
Catriona Pollard is the author of From Unknown To Expert, a step by step framework designed to help entrepreneurs develop effective PR and social media strategies to become recognised as thought leaders in their field. Catriona is also the director of CP Communications, which merges traditional PR tactics with cutting-edge social media strategies that engage consumers as well as business.