A recent study by US communications group Zeno showed that while many b2b businesses do a good job of managing their reputations offline, for many of them online reputation management – especially in the arena of b2b social media marketing – can be a bit of a blind spot, with up to 43% of B2B executives indicating that their CEO largely ignores their company's online reputation.
Anyone who’s been watching the media recently knows that when it comes to the online world, perception is more powerful than reality, and even the smallest mistake can become a huge PR problem. And of course you don’t need us to tell you about the impact your reputation can have on your sales.
Here are 6 rules which should help keep your head above water:
Rule One: Keep your ear to the ground
Invest some time and money into setting up a strong social media monitoring strategy. This will give you a chance to respond to bad press and ‘big up’ the good. Google alerts are a good place to start (start with your company name, brand name, product or service names, top executives’ names and main competitor names) but you might want to consider investing in some specialist social monitoring tools too.
Rule two: Respond (not just to the bad):
There will be 3 types of comments you’ll find : negative comments, positive comments and general online waffle that doesn’t need any action on your part. Make it your priority to respond to the negative ones immediately : even if it’s just ‘I’m sorry to hear you had a bad experience.’ And don’t forget the positive : even if it’s just to say thankyou. If these guys know you’re listening, they’re likely to advocate for you even more.
Rule three: Make sure your team is social-savvy:
Consider arranging social media training for your customer service teams: this is their new arena, and they need to be at ease in it. Just because the use Facebook personally doesn't mean they can manage your brand online!
Rule four: Establish your online personality – and stick with it:
Just as your offline brand sticks to a certain tone of voice (or should do), your business – and all its people – should be consistent in how it presents itself online, and that includes social. Make sure all your people toe the line and don’t let anything ruffle your feathers or prompt an unprofessional outburst.
Rule five: Keep talking:
Keeping up a regular online presence gives you more credibility if you ever need to defend yourself online.
Rule six: Have a disaster management strategy up your sleeve:
Yep, even social needs a disaster management strategy. Take some time to think about possible social setbacks (disgruntled employee, cheesed-off customer, industry scandal) and how best to manage the fall-out.
These 6 rules should help you navigate the waters of social reputation management with ease. And if you need any help with any aspect of your b2b social media strategy, give us a shout, that’s what we’re here for. Happy sailing!
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