Social media is a minefield. Get it wrong and you could completely ruin your company, which is one of the main building blocks of social media. People don’t forget when companies mess things up, and sometimes even apologizing could still leave you with a nasty headache. The key online reputation question to ask in 2016 is whether you have an idea of what the main social media risks are.
The good news is social media is one of the best ways to protect your online reputation. You have complete control of it and you can use it to build your brand.
Taking Things the Wrong Way
The online reputation history has made a living out of seeking out public embarrassments and deleting them. But you can’t rely on an external company to save you every time you mess something up. Some people just take things the wrong way, rightly or wrongly.
Whenever you post something, you should think before you act. Ask yourself whether someone easily offended would be upset with what you are about to post.
The Edge of Decency
Controversy creates cash. Companies often come close to the edge of what’s acceptable in order to generate a buzz, particularly because 90% of young people use social media and they believe that this is what they want. Sometimes this can work out for the best, but in most cases it goes terribly wrong. The potential payoff isn’t worth the risk to your online reputation.
Stay well away from posting anything potentially racy. You never know when you have crossed a line until it happens.
There are people who impersonate companies for their own ends. In most cases, the people doing this are doing it in the form of a parody or to be annoying. They are not malicious, but they are still potentially hurting your company.
Then there are those who are impersonating you in order to bring down your company. There have been situations where bogus companies have copied the names of famous companies just so they can latch onto their traffic and scam a couple of people along the way.
Ensure you patrol the web for imposters and have them removed immediately. Google Alerts is great for this and they can make sure that you spot imposters before they can do too much damage.
Even though corporate snooping is completely illegal, it still happens. Spies have been known to setup Facebook pages and then to pose as an employee. They then target authentic employees and gradually corrupt them.
Not only can they use this to extract trade secrets, but many spies have used this tactic in order to extract potentially embarrassing things that they can then spread around in an attempt to discredit you.
You’re always going to come across someone you don’t agree with. Whether it’s you or an employee, you should have a firm policy against bad mouthing anyone in a public forum. You should also apply this policy to any private messages on the network. All it takes is someone’s personal account to be compromised and those private words could become public.
It’s difficult to defend yourself against bad mouthing. The person may have deserved it, but to your customers you are going to come off as petty and unprofessional regardless.
And it doesn’t just go for people within your company. Disgruntled employees have been known to badmouth their former employers for one reason or another. Some have even gone as far as to setup blogs dedicated to how bad you supposedly are.
Treat your employees well and those employees who already like you, keep a watchful eye. Either of these scenarios could spell disaster for your online reputation.
Companies can come across as bullying if they target customers they see as bad. Hounding a customer who left bad comments on your Facebook page is always a bad thing. Never do it otherwise many customers will turn away from you.
Remain respectful to everyone at all times, even if they don’t always deserve it.
How to Maintain Your Online Reputation on Social Media
The problem with social media is that even a single wrong word can come back to bite you. There are two fronts that are under your direct control. Through comprehensive social media policies, you can restrict what your employees say. The second front is what you do when building your community.
Lead by example by tempering the words you post. Make sure that you are not sending anything that could be taken the wrong way or could show you in a negative light. Take a few seconds to think before you post anything. By doing this, you can ensure that your online reputation is preserved.