Online Reputation Management: Making Social Media Work For You

What do you think is the most important aspect of successful social media marketing? Well, it isn’t having the know-how to effectively use all of the available platforms. Sure, such knowledge helps, but that’s something just about everyone can learn. You’ll find that the most important aspect to successful social media marketing is having the right mindset.

Online Reputation Management: Making Social Media Work For You

Think about this: There are millions of people on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, but only a few thousand are actually using these media to their fullest potential. In this article, you’ll learn what it means to have the right mindset and become one of the few who use social media marketing to its fullest potential.

Attracting Clients

Be Yourself

You are probably wondering how you can stand out in a crowd of millions. It is possible? After all, you might think you aren’t the most outgoing person out there. Here is the good news: You don’t have to be an extrovert! In fact, many introverts actually like social media because they can write easily and network online, and it’s more comfortable for them. And for the extroverts, well, they just love this stuff; it enables them to communicate in another way with potentially millions of people.

How do you stand out on a platform that has tens of millions of people? Believe it or not, the secret is to just be you. That’s what participants in social media look for. They are seeking a new voice and a unique perspective. If you begin copying someone else’s style, that won’t feel right to you and you won’t keep up your efforts to participate because it will be too much of a struggle. Be yourself and you’ll find it easy to keep engaging in social media. Express your thoughts, your way. Share links that you believe will be of interest to your audience, not links that everyone else is posting. Don’t worry about the number of followers you have; just focus on quality. Follow those you want to follow and your unique voice and brand will begin to emerge.

Energy Attracts Followers

We’ve all had that consumer experience where we go to buy something in a store and an unenthusiastic clerk makes us wonder if we really want to buy the product after all. However, when you go to a store and the staff is helpful, you have the opposite reactions. When the staff asks you questions or wants to know if you need help with anything, you have a great customer experience. You feel important, right? And you feel good about buying the product.

It’s really the law of attraction: Good energy attracts people and, ultimately, followers. The same concept holds true with social media. If people find you friendly, engaging, and authentic and they need what you have to offer, they will continue to read your posts. They might even go a step further and recommend you to their networks.

Know Your Ideal Client

Successful social media marketers who have the right mindset also have a clear sense of who their ideal client is. As you begin to engage with social media platforms, a good practice is to write and converse as if you are talking to your future client base.

If you are having a hard time visualizing this, try this exercise: imagine that your ideal client is reading what you are posting. Then ask yourself some of these questions:

  • Who is my ideal customer?
  • What would they need to hear to make me a trusted expert in their minds?
  • What are they looking for when seeking someone like me to work with or buy a product from?
  • Why do they need what I have to offer?
  • When searching for similar products and services as mine, what keywords would they typically use?
  • Where would they participate online?
  • What keywords would attract them to my business?

Answering these questions now helps you later as you put together your social media strategy. As you write to your ideal client, be conscientious of your tone and what you are saying or posting. Although you want to be yourself, you also need to remember who you are talking to at the same time. By incorporating the previous ideas, you begin to attract the types of followers you want to attract, which should ultimately match the profile of your ideal customer.

Marketers used to use the “push” mentality: They would push their ideas or products in front of us so often that we would end up buying what they’re selling. Today, savvy social media marketers use the “pull” or attraction mentality: You put out the right information with the right tone to the right types of users, then pull prospects and customers to your business. You or your offerings attract then and they will become clients, followers, or champions of your business—maybe even all three!

Building a Network of Followers

One of the benefits of social media marketing is that you can build a great community of followers. This should clearly be one of your goals. Whether it’s on Facebook, Twitter, your blog, or your YouTube video channel, new followers equal prospects, prospects equal customers, customers equal referral partners, and referral partners lead to business champions.

Twenty percent of your core followers provide 80 percent of your business. Think of popular musical stars and where they’d be without their loyal fans. Their fan clubs serve as their base; it would be much more difficult to continue to sell out venue after venue without their base supporters. The musical star is loyal to his or her fans and that loyalty is reciprocated.

This is similar to the way it works with social media. You will build your follower base over time. It won’t happen overnight. Remember, you must build trust, they must like you (or at least your products and services), and they must have reasons to stay connected with you.

Guiding People to Your Business

You’re already getting the picture that participating in social media for your business is a good thing. Meeting new people, finding old friends, and meeting strategic partners is a lot of fun, isn’t it? However, at the end of the day, you are doing this to drive revenue to your business. To successfully “work” social media, you need to begin effectively networking and building your connections, just as you would do at live speaking events.

Over time sharing your expertise helps you build credibility and guides people toward your business or website. When participating online, one of your goals should be to build on your list of customers. Your list is your gold mine—don’t ever forget it.

In the past, people would say, “I want to add you to my mailing list,” and it meant, literally, the traditional mail that actually shows up in your mailbox (the one on the street, not on your PC). Today’s social media marketers are building an e-mail list of their followers and fans along with gathering a cell phone list of their followers for future mobile (cell phone) marketing.

From now on, in all of your marketing, invite people to connect with you on Facebook, to follow you on Twitter, link with you on LinkedIn, and so on. After they are connected to you on these sites, invite them to get your newsletter or e-zine, subscribe to your blog, or look at your videos on your YouTube channel. This will drive more people to follow and connect with you, which in turn will guide people toward your business. The more people you have following you, the more people you are likely to have singing your praises and recommending you.

Remember: This is Your Business Reputation

If I were your personal business sales stylist, I would sit you down and talk to you about your business reputation. This is a very important aspect of social media marketing. Everything that you write, tweet, podcast, video, respond to, or even say publicly is a reflection of your business and ultimately your business reputation. It might sound silly to even bring this up, but oftentimes on many social media platforms people get so caught up in the fast-paced typing and the quick responses that they forget that—after you hit that send button—it is on the Internet forever.

One story out there in the media is about a Twitter user who went on a job interview. When he left the building, he updated his twitter status about how lame the interviewer was. Although he didn’t mention the company’s name, the company did a Google search on him and his Twitter status update (or tweet) appeared in the search findings. Needless to say, he did not get the job.

Another mistake people make is writing about their political or religious views. Although some might think it’s not doing much harm to comment on this political person or that particular religious holiday or issue, it might offend enough people that it could hurt your business. A word to the wise: Stay away from politics and religion and any other sensitive topics. You wouldn’t approach these in traditional networking settings, so avoid them online. Of course, you will find the diehard political consultants or advisors writing about political views, but that is what they do. Stay focused on topics that are of interest to your ideal client.

Another danger is not thinking before hitting the send button. People may read or hear something and feel strongly about it. They immediately log on to a site, spill their guts, and hit send. In some instances this can be fine; however, in many other cases, it is most definitely not okay. Fair warning: your social media entry just might pop up months or years later within a search engine (such as Google). You need to think about whether that will help or hurt your business reputation.

Some companies have hired people to help with online reputation management (ORM), which is a new buzzword these days. As an entrepreneur or business owner, you might not be able to hire a reputation management team just yet, but you can manage your own online reputation just by becoming aware of what you are writing and posting on your social media sites.

The Unwritten Rules of Engagement

Although social media is still in its beginning stages, some unofficial unwritten rules of engagement exist. Many people do not follow these rules. Remember that the rules can shift a bit as the social media landscape evolves, but these are good, basic rules to adhere to as you enter the world of social media marketing.

  • Never post anything negative about your competition—or anyone else for that matter.
  • Don’t post when you are angry.
  • Do not spam, because sending unsolicited marketing to unsolicited prospects is considered electronic abuse.
  • Do not sell continuously.
  • Share your expertise and tips to help others.
  • Build relationships and trust.
  • Share success stories that will help people.
  • Don’t write ego-driven posts or promote a personal agenda.
  • Really listen to what people are saying.
  • Don’t buy programs or software that links you to thousands.
  • Be your authentic self.
  • Focus on efficient and inexpensive marketing aspects of social media.

Looking Forward to Logging In

Two of the biggest objections people have before they even get started with social media marketing are that they just don’t have time or they don’t understand why they should start connecting to people they do not know. Here is a simple goal to start with: Look forward to logging in to your social media platforms. Approach them without dread or fear.

This is where the mindset again comes into play. All successful social media marketers look forward to logging in each day and reading the messages people wrote or seeing who their new followers are. To get you into the right mindset, remember the following:

  • This is efficient and inexpensive marketing.
  • These social media platforms are marketing you and your business to potentially millions while you sleep.
  • You never know who you are going to meet online that will change the destiny of your life and business for the better.

With all of these points in mind, you should look forward to logging in; just keep the basic principals in mind: engage online regularly, tell everyone you know that you are now using social media platforms, and share your expertise. Before you know it, you’ll be looking forward to logging in.

Some social media marketers who have built a large following have begun hiring a virtual assistant, an intern, or an employee to help them with their social media efforts. Imagine if you had so many followers and were gaining so much attention that you had to hire help to assist you in managing your social media. That would be a good thing, right? The more people who know about you, your expertise, and your business, the more likely your business will grow.

Investing Your Time

Although nearly all of the social media platforms are free, one cost is involved: your time. All business owners know that time is money. However, the good news with social marketing is that now you’re investing your time in something that can have substantial returns in the long run.

One mistake people make when they first get started with social media is thinking that the payoff is going to be immediate. They think that with a few Facebook postings or by starting a blog, business will start growing and loyal fans will suddenly start referring people to you.

You should know that this is not typically the case. It takes time to organically grow your online network of followers and fans. However, at a certain point, your network will expand faster and larger. When that happens, two followers grow into four, four grow into eight, eight into sixteen, and so on. Before you know it, you have 1,000 new connections.

A good strategy for beginning social media users is to invest 20 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes in the evening. Think of it as attending a networking event. First you log into Facebook, then LinkedIn, and next Twitter. Eventually, your time spent on social media platforms will expand. As you become comfortable, make some weekly goals. For instance, perhaps once a week you’ll update your blog and upload a new video.

For some, the time invested online using social media has allowed them to cut back on some in-person networking events. While I don’t recommend you cut back entirely on in-person networking, participating online allows you to have a regular presence to share information about your business or to learn about what others are doing. The value is in the conversations and the relationships you are building.

Tips to Remember

  • The right mindset is one of the most important aspects you bring to social media marketing.
  • Think of social media as networking with the world, and spend time each day networking by getting to know others and sharing your wisdom.
  • Social media marketing enables you to build your network of business champions, future referrals, and strategic partners.
  • Think before hitting send because everything you post on the Internet stays there forever and affects your business reputation.
  • Be ready to invest some time, because growing your business doesn’t happen overnight.

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5 Comments

  1. Nice works.Great useful web designing tutorial.Thanks.

  2. Excellent post – most of the points here are very common but we tend to forget them. !

  3. I would say that “Guiding People to Your Business” is the most important of all of these. And they are all important.

  4. Social media is an important tool when it comes to brand reputation management. Thanks for this – far too many marketers forget the power of word-of-mouth.

  5. Reputation management does work. Although negative comments are pushed off the first page and still may be found on the second or third page. When I have a new client, before I charge them anything I will review the situation. I once had someone inquire about my services and the negative link they wanted to remove was from a major newspapers website. I told them it was most likely not going to be realistic to remove it from the first page and would not take the clients money.

    A lot of times the negative reviews come from sites that allow people to give negative reviews to businesses with no merit. I’m not going to mention them by name, but there are tons of them. When I review a individuals or companies situation if I know it can be pushed off the first page we will proceed.

    There is a trust factor when hiring a reputation management company. For example, when I’m hired I will need to create at least one or more email accounts for the client and create some new accounts on the net for the purpose of creating positive links in the place of the negative one. Any company that doesn’t ask for this, I would be suspect of. You have to create new accounts for the client to remove bad links.

    Another strategy that has to be discussed before any work is done, is what kind of links would be acceptable to use to replace the bad links. In short, reputation management does work and is extremely valuable because potential customers will run if they see negative reviews, regardless if they are truthful or not.

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