Your Social Media Reputation Has Never Been More Valuable
Social media is often branded as a way to connect with friends and family members. While it does that, the reality is that it's also one of the main ways that people interact with companies and brands. The level of contact is unprecedented. In the past, people thought of corporations as these distant entities that they could never really connect with at all. Sure, they could write a letter of complaint or praise, but they'd often hear nothing back. If they did, it would take days or weeks. The most they could really do was complain about a brand to their family members in person, and that's as far as their influence reached.
That's not the case any longer. Now they can log a complaint that hundreds or even thousands of people see. They can contact the company and expect to hear back in a matter of hours. They can use multiple channels -- posts, messages, apps, emails, etc. -- to determine just how public or private they want that communication to be. When it's public, often via reviews or social media posts, it puts pressure on the company to respond. Everyone is watching.
Is It a Threat?
When used properly, social media can boost sales, increase brand awareness and create customer loyalty. However, it could also pose a threat. The visibility really is off the charts. If everything about your image is not carefully curated to give a positive impression, it can ruin everything you have worked so hard for. Via MSN and Microsoft News, one expert put it this way: "Social media is the most immediate threat to your company's reputation. If not taken seriously, it can and will directly impact your company financially and culturally."
The trouble is that the truth doesn't always matter. That negative review doesn't have to be true. It doesn't have to reflect the real user experience. Those circulating rumors do not have to mirror reality. People often just read headlines, they don't do any additional research, and they react impulsively. Things can get out of hand in a hurry, and there may be little you can do to prevent it.
For example, just look at Metro Bank, a financial institution in the UK. Back in May, rumors hit the social media circuit, saying that they had financial troubles ahead of them. This was later shown to be inaccurate. While the bank did correct their image and reputation, their shares fell by a staggering 11% anyway. They didn't do anything wrong. There were no financial difficulties. But their value plunged regardless. That's the power of social media.
Responding to Reviews
The trouble isn't always on the massive scale shown when a bank sees its shares drop. Take another example of a bed and breakfast that had a social media profile. A man stayed there and then left a three-star review afterward. His main complaint was that he only had a single option to eat at breakfast, which he felt took away from the experience.
According to the owner, that wasn't actually true. They had an "extensive menu." The owner was forced to respond to the review so that others who considered staying there would know that man's opinion was not grounded in what their experience would really be like.
The trouble is that negative reviews can have an impact that is far greater than the positive reviews. You could have 10 five-star reviews, but customers would still be driven away by a single one-star review. It takes far, far more positive reviews and interactions to outweigh the negative. This is especially problematic because those who are unhappy are often more likely to leave a review in the first place.
As another social media expert noted in USA Today: "You can have all the likes you want, but at the end of the day, if a few people write bad things about you, they are going to have a disproportionate impact. Increasing positive vibes is great, but you get a bigger bang for your buck if you reduce the negative ones."
Online Image in the Social Media Age
As you can see, the power of social media is greater than many people realize. You must know how to do proper online marketing and how to run your social media profiles in a way that increases brand awareness, promotes positive interactions and limits the amount of negative reviews you receive. We can help. Here at Content Customs, we work hard to put you in a position to succeed in the fast-paced, ever-changing world of online marketing.
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