Image is everything, so we are told and in today’s lightning fast paced online world, reputations can be made or destroyed in a matter of minutes so if you’re not paying attention to your brand’s profile and how your business is perceived by the masses then you need to think again.
With that said, if you want to start taking your online image more seriously then there are a number of places to start and one of the first is your social media presence. The great thing about social media is the ability to connect directly with your existing customers and potential ones, so its important to not just be on the right networks but to engage your followers and communicate with them effectively. Demonstrating your authority in your market and raising the bar for your customer service. To do this well, really think about the people you are talking to and what’s important to them as well as what frustrates them. By developing a strategy with that in mind and the right content it’s possible to gain new followers, generate business leads and drive more traffic to your website.
Creating a schedule for your social posts is one way to keep things moving and maintain a good mix of video, technical information, blogs and images to boost engagement. It’s also vital to keep the conversation going by replying to comments and building trust and reputation with your consumers. Don’t just post and move on but craft considered responses to any questions and attempt to resolve any issues promptly.
For any business that gets reviewed online, whether it’s Trip Advisor, Google, or a well established industry blogger, the manner in which you respond and by going above and beyond in dealing with negative reviews can help turn one person’s bad experience into genuinely helpful PR. The key to effectively dealing with complaints or a one star rant is to publicly show real empathy for any inconvenience or upset and to turn things around by taking a good look at what caused the problem in the first instance and how you can ensure there is no reoccurrence. It’s basically a win-win because not only will you earn goodwill online but you’ve also taken your service level up a notch by addressing an issue you may not have even been aware of.
Taken together, your blog, social media postings, video content and interactions with customers provides a good practical basis for building your online profile, but there’s one important caveat, especially if you are still building up your follower base. Who is actually reading your stuff?
In the age of social media influencers, the golden ticket is to get your content shared by even just one heavy hitter that can expose you to a whole new world of eyeballs that could potentially lift your online profile into another stratosphere. But where do you even start. How are you going to get a social media powerhouse to recognize your relatively insignificant operation and how can you get these elusive influencers on your side. The first step is to identify the people who have real gravitas in your market. There are a numbers of handy websites like Social Media Examiner and Ocast, which publish top influencer lists and can help you identify the names that matter. The rest is up to you. Start following them for one thing and if you want to get recognized then share their output, while throwing a few compliments their way. It’s also useful to engage with your chosen influencers by commenting on their threads and asking some questions. Just make sure you do your research and ask interesting and appropriate questions. Just one considered comment to a recognized social media star can potentially open the door to a whole new army of followers and potential customers.
While you are spending some time examining your own online profile, also take the opportunity to see what the leaders in your field and your competitors are doing. At the very least you’ll likely get some good content ideas to mirror and by jumping on their published content, there’s a chance to be front and center of users that have a demonstrated interest in your products or services.
So as we have seen, just a few simple tricks of the trade can inject new life into your online profile. Nurture your own users and customers but start to think outside the box and reap the rewards of following the best practice of your industry’s leading lights. You’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain.