You saw what?? How to manage your reputation on social media.

September 4, 2018

40 minutes a day.

In today’s fast paced world, 40 minutes is a long time. More time than it takes to eat breakfast, watch the news or possibly drive to work.

But, 40 minutes is the average amount of time Facebook’s daily users spend on the platform. Significant time each day for a consumer – or potential customer – to absorb information about your company. Twitter lags behind, but active users still average more than 40 minutes a week.

This level of social media engagement demands a proactive online monitoring strategy for Facebook, Twitter and other components of your online presence.  A bad review or negative post can quickly go viral, get picked up by traditional media, and make you known for something that might not even be true.

For example: An angry school parent alleges wrongdoing in the classroom and posts it on multiple social media platforms.  The allegations are startling and people begin to assume it’s true. They share, comment and retweet.  Once the post goes viral, the facts are hard to correct… even though the investigation into the matter reveals nothing wrong.

Or, an employee steals from your company. The story takes off in the media… and your customers are panicking, with comments filling your Facebook page.

So, how do you minimize risk and repair damage?

1) Aggressively monitor all the time to catch posts quickly.

  • Begin by making sure you have a social media presence: it is hard to respond without an established page that viewers know and trust.
  • Ensure your notifications are set to arrive to cellular devices for more than one member of your team. Check these regularly and often.

2) When crisis strikes, respond quickly, clearly and appropriately.

  • Share your response on every digital platform: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and the company website. This statement needs to be “pinned to the top” on your page.
  • Resist the urge to respond to every comment on a video, news story or post. Allow the social media fire to burn out.
    • If you do choose to respond to individual comments, pick the comments strategically – posts where commentary is factually inaccurate and has a high level of engagement by others. Leave the post visible and respond by pointing the person to the pinned statement at the top of the page
  • Do not delete posts, but hide any content that is hateful, abusive or derogatory (Hiding allows the post to remain on the page but it is visible only to the original person who posted and his/her friends).
  • If a bad review (including very offensive commentary) is posted – and others jump on the bandwagon – consider removing the reviews feature.

3) Recover and return to normal when the time is right.

  • Be patient. The news/interest cycle is fast.  People will move on to something else.  Try to respond appropriately and then give the situation time to fade.
  • Depending on the severity of the crisis, temporarily de-activing a social media page AFTER a crisis (after significant lapse of public comment) may create a fresh start and help rebuild the brand.
  • When posts resume, be sensitive to tone and content.

These standards can be adjusted to fit your needs, and apply across industries and different sized businesses. And when the going gets tough, it helps to know who to call for support.

 

Sara McCarthy is a problem solver by nature, with experience in communications, client relationship management, sponsorships, event planning and marketing. Throughout the last decade, Sara has worked primarily in the legal industry,  coordinating social media and digital content. Her multi-faceted background helps her connect with clients across numerous industries to understand and address their needs.

Originally published in Midlands Biz on September 3, 2018.

See also: Crisis Management, Digital and Social Media, Message Development

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