There is no lack of Social Media to participate in and worry about: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, Foursquare, Blogs, just to name a few. Here is my question for this discussion: How Are You Managing Your Social Media Brand Reputation?
The most important aspects of Social Media include increasing awareness for your brand and improving your relationship with your customers. In order to effectively use these Social Media outlets, you must make a significant commitment of resources and attention (sometimes by top executives). You may be walking the walk by dedicating resources to participating in Social Media but how are you tracking, managing and responding to Social Media posts about your brand?
There are some very good tools for managing your brand reputation and what people are saying about you on Social Media. Most of these tools allow you to set-up the Social Media you want to track and they scan postings and report on discussions related to your brand. Some of the tools even rank your reputation and provide a “report card” on your ranking. Using a brand reputation monitoring tool can also allow you to identify customer service issues that need to be resolved. Here is an example of how these tools work from my own experience:
Just recently, I decided to cancel my (unnamed) VOIP phone service. Like a lot of consumers, my cell phone with unlimited minutes eliminates the need for a home phone. So I called the company to cancel my service which I had been using for about 5 months. Near the end of the phone call I was informed that there would be a “termination fee” representing the remainder of the one year contract I had “signed”. Funny, I don't remember signing a contract.
While I am generally a very pleasant person to deal with, I strongly objected to the fee. I told the customer service rep what I thought of their policy but there was no budging. The fee was a "Company Policy". In my frustration I said, “Have you ever heard of Facebook? If you go ahead with this “termination fee” I will post my disapproval on your Facebook page, on my Facebook page, on my friends Facebook page and every other Facebook page I could muster." The rep asked me to hold for a moment, came back in a minute and said that the supervisor approved the waiving of the termination fee. Apparently the phone company had a procedure in place if a customer threatened to play the Social Media card. This interchange inspired me to write this post.
First of all, if a company continues to receive negative complaints about policies, either by phone or in the Social Media, those policies should be proactively reviewed and changed. In addition, if you have an active Social Media presence (or are considering one) you should deploy a reputation management and tracking tool. There are many on the market. The company and reputation you save may be your own!