We all know social media channels as a quick and easy way to share content with our audience. Content promotion has been rendered quite easy and affordable with the popularity and traffic available on social media networks. But what many do not know is that social media channels can also be used to build website authority and reputation. How would that be, you will ask. We will provide a detailed guide very shortly as that is our focus in this post.
But before we delve into that, let us examine the value of website authority and reputation and what they really mean.
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The Value Of Authority and Reputation
Doing business online is non-personal. You cannot touch the offerings, you cannot feel them. You can only make judgements based on what is presented to you. That is why building trust is important, especially for online businesses. You do not only need to build trust in your business relationships, your website itself needs to project that trust and reputation to persuade visitors into making a purchase.
Trust they say is everything. It is very essential for business relationships and this still holds true in the modern world especially when it comes to e-commerce. Maintaining an online reputation as a knowledgeable and trustworthy source of information can be a powerful deciding factor when potential customers choose between you and your competitors. It’s not just vendors looking to make sales that are interested in cultivating an authoritative reputation.
Being an authority that can be trusted will lend weight to everything you post. This is not merely a rhetorical device, either. Individuals and companies that take pains to build good online reputations have an easier time attracting a wider audience because they are linked to others by other authorities and favored by search engines. Building an authoritative reputation is therefore a proven strategy for expanding your reach and attracting a wider audience. One of the ways you can build this trust is through your social media communication.
Social Media As a Component of Your Marketing Strategy
No other online communication strategy outside the Google and Bing search engines draws more traffic today than social media. That makes it a channel to be taken very seriously. Facebook currently has over 2.7 billion visitors monthly. Twitter has over 1.3 billion registered members, and so on with the other social media platforms, it is a huge market that can be used to assert one’s authority in any field and build trust for a brand.
Social media allows you to promote the content you publish in other venues. You can use excerpts, samples, and previews to entice followers into visiting your primary site and taking a look at your content. A social media presence also makes a perfect platform for engaging in two-way conversations about your content.
Building Trust and Reputation
There are several ways you can build your trust and reputation using social media. Here we discuss a few practical steps you can take to enhance and achieve trust and reputation for your brand.
- Decide What You Want Your Online Reputation to Be
With ORM, the first step is to decide what you want your online reputation to be. Do you want to be perceived as an industry authority? To adopt the position as the market leader? Or be known for your responsiveness and excellent customer service?
- Assess Your Current Online Reputation
You can begin by determining what your actual reputation is. Ask friends, family, clients, business partners, and stakeholders what comes to mind when they hear your business’s name. What do people already think about you? Does your digital presence match your reputation in your offline network? Listed below are five tools that will help you research and evaluate your digital reputation.
Use The Brand Grader to Assess Online Reputation
The Brand Grader (from Mention) provides an understanding of your brand’s online presence for free. It will identify the most influential blogs and news websites that have published content featuring your business in the last 30 days and also show recent mentions from social sources. The tool also gives you a score that helps you identify the strengths and weaknesses of your business’s reputation.
- Craft a Social Media Policy to Guide Engagement That Supports Your Reputation Goals
The next step for building an A+ online presence is to have an effective social media policy in place. Social media policy refers to how a company and its employees interact online.
Here are a few key points to keep in mind when creating your policy:
- Don’t allow staff members to freely post whatever comes to mind, particularly if the content is associated with your business. One reason for that is to protect your reputation. The other reason is liability. To keep things simple, you could tell your employees to label all of their posts as “personal” or create a pre-approval process for content, if necessary.
- Sensitive data should never be shared with the public, including financial, legal, and private client information.
- A captivating online reputation is all about professionalism. This also applies to publishing content on social media.
- Reserve the right to edit or delete potentially harmful content.
- Design a Social Media Content Strategy to Promote Your Desired Reputation
A social media content strategy outlines the subjects and topics your business or brand wants to focus on, the use of keywords and media types (articles, video, podcasts), and who’s responsible for content creation and implementation, which doesn’t necessarily have to be the same person. Here are some key points for your social media content strategy.
1. Identify Your Social Media Goals
The first step in creating a strategy is to define your social media goals. Do you want to win more fans or followers? Increase sales in your e-commerce store. Raise awareness of your brand.
2. Decide Which Social Platforms Will Help You Reach Your Ideal Customer and Attain Your Goals
Social media represents one of the most important opportunities for digital marketing. To build a solid online reputation, you need to identify the platforms that are relevant for engaging your current and future clients.
To illustrate, if you’re looking to prospect C-suite executives, you may want to focus on LinkedIn and Twitter rather than Pinterest and Snapchat. If you want to focus on lifestyle, design, and apps, Pinterest and Facebook may represent the most compelling options.
3. Consider Your Competitors’ Social Presence and Social Platform Demographics When Integrating Social Platforms
If a direct competitor has a healthy, engaged presence on a specific social media platform, odds are that the platform is a fit for your business as well. Many tools are available to help you research your competitors on social media. As a starting point, Fanpage Karma ($14.90 per month) and Talkwalker (free version) are great tools to evaluate both your own and your competitor’s social media presence.
Specific Tactics That Can Build Your Online Reputation
- Be Consistent
Ensure that your company’s background, client references, and project history are the same on all your social media profiles and that it matches the information on your company’s website. Consistency is essential in any reputation.
Experts agree that the best way to maintain and improve a business reputation is by constantly adding positive content to your social media profiles that will not only keep your followers updated but also build your brand image for potential customers. Include sites that rank high; such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. These social media platforms are essential in maintaining positive, accurate reputations. Also ensure that you regularly update them with useful content, at least once a month. By repeating these steps you will be on your way to a lasting and positive business reputation.
- Building The Right Kind Of Content
Although social networks probably won’t be the native ground for your most authoritative content, you should still make an effort to craft your work in a way that lends itself to promotion via social media. Content that concentrates on making a visual impact (e.g. infographics, videos) is particularly suited to this role. Good visuals can serve as the entirety of your content or be deployed simply as adjuncts to strong text.
As noted above, your content needs to go into some depth and explore new territory in order to establish your reputation as an authority. Take the time to write content that will deliver genuine value to people who discover it through your social media promotional efforts. Include strong reference links that support your ideas and guide your audience to even more information they’ll find useful.
Finally, don’t forget to mount standard social sharing buttons on your content pages. Your entire goal is to get more people to take notice of your efforts through increased social visibility Give your audience the tools it needs to help you achieve that goal!
- Engage With The Community
As noted above, social networks are all about unbiased, back-and-forth communication. This makes them uniquely suited to engaging far more directly with your audience than other venues. Embrace this feature of social media rather than shying away from it. Encourage readers to reach out to you by addressing your social profiles and doing your best to answer questions in an insightful, respectful way.
Social networks give you the opportunity to interact with people who are already seen as authorities in your field, too. Take advantage of this by keeping up with the latest trends in your niche, and don’t be afraid to reach out to influential people when you have something meaningful to say. Getting a little communication flowing between yourself and your niche’s thought leaders can bring you to the attention of a much larger audience.
- Pause and Plan Before Responding
Reacting quickly to your brand’s error regardless of what it is maybe the wrong way of restoration.
Pause and plan how you’re going to effectively engage the issue and mitigate any further damage.
It is imperative that you engage not only your social media team but also your PR and legal team as you want to be careful about how to respond. The wrong response could land you in more trouble.
- Acknowledge Your Mistakes
In most instances, admitting your errors and holding the brand accountable for the issues that arose is the best start to fixing your social media reputation.
When doing so, keep the voice of the most authentic and human.
Being too official will only make you sound robotic in nature – which will come across as insincere.
- Provide Solutions to the Error When Applicable
Often, brands get into trouble with issues pertaining to data, errors, or outages.
While we cannot control everything, communicating solutions and promoting that quickly will help your brand restore its reputation within the social media space.
- Build your Brand
A very important way in which social media reputation management can work for you is by helping to create brand awareness. It helps you to find your target market by effectively narrowing down potential buyers, locating any social media locations that those consumers are regularly visiting, and ensuring the presence of your business in these networks.
Often you will find people giving feedback about your product and even your business’s performance. Being on a social media platform will give you the ease to moderate customer comments made about your business or products. At this point, you can use those comments to evaluate other competitors’ products and thus in the end increase your brand’s rating.
Improve customer relationship
Keeping in touch with your customers through a social media platform like FaceBook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, and others can greatly advance the quality of your customer-supplier relationship. Knowing what customers are saying about your product can help you improve it in a number of different ways. Keeping in touch with customers and learning about the various ways in which your product influenced their lives will also help them to know you care. In addition, by keeping an open comment box for your customers to voice their opinions, you can win a disgruntled customer over.
Create brand ambassadors
You can use the comments made by your guests concerning your product to get the word out to the wider public. Your customers can make some of the best brand ambassadors in your niche market by leaving comments that are favorable to your business. To highlight these comments you can have a section for testimonies visible on the site where visitors can see what others are saying about your business or product.
Set you up as an expert in your field
By frequently sharing information about your product with customers, you can be looked at as an expert in your field. One way to share product information is by writing and posting articles online. You can post your articles from your own website or from an online company’s site and send them to various social media sites you are connected to such as FaceBook, Twitter, Stumble, Google, and others. To send your articles to these sites you can just use the relevant social buttons available to you.
Ultimately, planning out your ideal social media marketing strategy will depend on your personal situation, your goals, and your resources. The general principles detailed here should serve you very well if you want to use your social activity to improve your reputation and become an authority in your field.