When clients come to me with reputation management problems, one of the first steps I take involves shutting down and cleaning up their social media sites. Striking negative comments and obliterating embarrassing photographs is Job 1, when it comes to limiting the damage a client might face.
But when the dust has cleared, these clients need to go online and fight back, and often, they have no idea what they should be discussing on social media. They’ve been burned in the past, and as a result, they’re jittery about posting anything at all. This might explain why a 2012 study from Recommend.ly found that 2 of 3 Facebook pages are inactive in some way. People set up the sites, but then they just don’t know how to use them.
Thankfully, those pages don’t have to stay blank forever, as there are a number of topics that any company can, and should, discuss on social media. In fact, those companies that do discuss these particular items might see their reputation problems fade for good. Here are my top 5 picks.
1. How-To Videos
If your company produces a product, chances are that your consumers will need to learn how to use that product. Videos make teaching a snap, and they also tend to garner a significant amount of online buzz. Shoot a snappy video with quick narration, and you’ll go a long way toward controlling the conversation about your name and your brand.
2. Links to Blog Posts
If you have a writer slaving away in service to your company, share that writer’s work with the world via your social media channels. On a busy day, you can simply pop up a link, but if you’re feeling expansive, pull out a quote and put it above your link when you post. Your writer’s blog post will be more visible, and you might even start a little conversation about the work your company is doing.
3. Articles About Your Industry
Generating positive content about your company and your brand is the best way to boost your online reputation, but sometimes, you may stumble across an article that speaks directly to some key aspect of the industry in which you work. Create a pithy one-sentence response to that article, grab the link and you have a wonderful snippet to share on almost any social media channel.
4. Coupons and Promotions
Boosting an online reputation means building up a feeling of goodwill among past and future consumers. Giving away product, or offering a product at a discount, is a great way to generate happy feelings, and these sorts of posts tend to pack a big social media punch. Make sure your employees know about the promotion before it goes live, of course, but be sure to use your channels to demonstrate how giving your company really is.
5. Humor, with Caveats
A study conducted in 2013 by Ipsos Open Thinking Exchange suggests that Americans are more likely to share content that’s funny, rather than sharing content that seems somehow important. It’s unclear why this is the case, but it does seem to suggest that posts that take a somewhat humorous tone might be more likely to reach a large audience. Cartoons, word plays or even jokes might be great ways to get people talking about your brand in a positive light. There are some dangers here, however, as some comments that might seem funny to you can be off-putting to others. In general, if the humor is too dark to share with a child in preschool, it’s too dark to share on social media. Period.
Reading through all of these tips can be a little overwhelming, especially if you haven’t posted anything at all in your social media channels in the previous year. But, by dedicating an hour or so each day to posting new information, and responding to the information that’s already there, you really can take control of the conversation and take your company in a whole new direction. I wish you luck! And, of course, if there are any tips at all that I missed, please add them in the comments section. I’d love to hear from you.
Author: Jean Dion