Business owners spend a considerable amount of resources promoting their brand and products online. However, promotion is only one part of the equation.
Social Media is powerful tool for businesses because it supports dual communication and it gives the customer a public voice. The true power from this communication comes from 'Raving Fans' - those people who are willing to advocate for a brand or product. But there is a shadow to this media. Social Media platforms are also place where disgruntled consumers can voice their complaints.
Businesses now must take customer service beyond the 1:1 interactions it has with its market and make it a public initiative. Customer service and reputation management now starts before the actual transaction takes place.
Some of the ways that businesses can manage their reputation online include:
- Consistency - Be consistent in the way you portray your company and brand online; in the way you enforce your company policies and procedures and in how you interact with clients and address concerns. Be sure that your "voice" is the same across all of your Social Media platforms
- Clear Policies - Use the various online platforms to clearly state and display your company policies, procedures and guarantees and then be sure to uphold them.
- Monitoring - Use Google, or another alert tool, to monitor your company's name, brand and industry. Have systems in place to address concerns immediately
- Be Proactive and Timely - One of the most powerful components of Social Media is its ability to be "real-time". React quickly to customer feedback, favorable and unfavorable and answer possible concerns and challenges before they arise.
The bottom line is that Social Media has to be managed continuously as it is one of the only marketing tools that takes on a life of its own.