How Your IT Business Can Avoid a Reputation Hit Over Social Media
Social media has added another layer to reputation management. People now get fired over a tweet and an old post from 10 years ago that seems “off-color” today can cause a company to lose customers.
But you can’t just avoid social media if you want to give your IT business marketing a chance of success. Social media is an important way to drive leads, stay connected to customers, and improve your overall SEO and web presence.
By following some “rules of the road,” you can avoid suffering a reputation hit on social media and use sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to enhance your marketing results.
Clean Up Your Social Profiles (Business & Personal)
Approximately 76% of U.S. consumers have made a purchase after seeing a company’s social media post, and 54% of people research products & services on social sites.
A majority of people use one or more social platforms, so whatever you have posted online, no matter how long ago, could come back to haunt you.
While most IT business owners are pretty careful about their business profile because they’re using it to drive sales, they don’t always have the same concern over their personal ones.
But if like most IT businesses, your name is listed on the “about us” page with the story of how you started the business, customers and potential customers might look you up on social. All they have to do is click your picture while reading your post on your business page to get to your personal page.
If someone sees something they don’t like or anything that gives them a reason not to trust you, like drunken party pictures posted back in your college days, it could hurt your business reputation and cost you customers.
Here are some things you can do to improve the reputation your social profiles may be putting out there.
Make Your Personal Profile Private
If you don’t want to go back through years of old posts on your personal profile and clean them up, make it private so only friends and family can see it. If you have a separate company profile, then you don’t need your personal one public for business purposes.
Sites like Facebook & Twitter will typically give you a few options, such as allowing only friends or allowing “friends of friends” to see your posts. If you do this, then be careful about “friending” your customers from your personal profile.
Review Your Past Social Post & Delete “Off-Color” Remarks
For any public profiles, business and personal, you want to review your past posts. You may find that years ago you posted while angry and sounded like a real jerk. Or you may have shared an off-color meme from someone that now makes you cringe.
Facebook started in 2004 and Twitter in 2006, so that’s 15 years’ worth of social posts, some of which could’ve been made when you were less mature than you are now.
Go through your old posts and delete any that you wouldn’t want a potential customer to read.
Use a Social Media Post Deletion Tool
You can save time locating and deleting embarrassing old posts by using a deletion application. These apps can search your tweets or posts by keyword, prune your tweets so only the last 100 or so are still active, and make it easier for you to clean up your profile.
Here are two for Twitter you can try:
Here’s an article from PC mag on how to delete old Facebook posts.
Look for Any Posts Complaining About Your Job/Customers (Delete Them)
Sometimes customers can get under your skin, and you may post something on your personal profile complaining in the heat of the moment. This can come back to bite you if potential customers read that in the future.
Imagine how you would feel if you were thinking of hiring a service professional and read these comments on their social profile:
- “I’m really rethinking my profession right about now! What a nightmare project!”
- “I can’t believe how clueless some customers are! Couldn’t even locate the Start menu!”
- “It was all I could do to leave that place without going ballistic! I’ll never work with that @!$% company again!”
If you post complaining about what you do for a living and who you do it for, potential customers will probably steer clear of your services. Current customers also might rethink their relationship with you because they’ll wonder if your complaints are about them.
These types of comments are ones you want to delete from any of your public social media profiles.
Change Any “Joke” Profile Descriptions
If you first set up your social media profile when you were younger, with a group of friends, or just when you were in a playful mood, you might have added a joke profile description.
Check the descriptions or “about” area of your social profiles to make sure you don’t have something there that you’d find embarrassing today. Something like “King of beer pong,” for example.
We often rarely go back to our social profiles later, so you may have completely forgotten what you first wrote when setting up your account. It’s a good idea to revisit and refresh this at least once a year.
Best Practices for Your Business Social Media Profile
Social media is an important part of your MSP sales funnel. It can help you drive leads as well as nurture customer relationships to build loyalty. It can also promote cross-selling of products and services.
Here are some best practices for putting your best foot forward on your social media profiles and using them to boost your business reputation.
Choose a Username That Matches Your Company Name as Closely as Possible
Your business social media profile should brand your business, so you want to choose a name and @handle that is as close to your company name as possible.
This makes it easier for customers to find you and connect on social. It can also improve your SEO when your business name is in your social media page URL.
Use Brand Images for Cover & Profile Photos
When people see a social profile and there is no cover image or profile photo, it looks unfinished or as if the company didn’t care enough to make their profile look nice.
Take time to put together a profile photo and cover image for your page background that reflects your brand, logo, colors, etc. You want your social profile page to match your website as closely as possible to promote consistent branding.
You can find image dimension recommendations here:
Delete or Hide Inappropriate Comments from Others
An unfortunate resident of social media is the “troll.” These are people that post offensive things just for the fun of it. If you have a troll on your page posting inappropriate comments in your posts, hide or delete them so others won’t see them.
Be careful when it comes to upset customers because you don’t want to appear as if you are just hiding comments that you don’t like instead of addressing them. But if any are using inappropriate language, then it would make sense to hide or delete it and then address any customer concerns with that person offline.
Use the Block Feature for Trolls
If you have the same troll plaguing your company’s Facebook page continuously, you can use the block or ban feature to keep disrupters from constantly posting inappropriate comments on your page.
Here are instructions from Facebook on how to do that.
Respond to Questions & Comments Promptly
One of the best ways to use your social media to improve your business reputation is to respond to questions and comments (both positive and negative). 53% of customers expect to get a reply when they write a comment or review, and it can look bad to other social media followers if they see you don’t bother to reply.
Social media is like an extension of your website, and many people will look up companies and ask them questions over Facebook or Twitter rather than going to their site. If you use social platforms as an opportunity to expand your customer support, those replies can boost your reputation and earn you more leads.
Post Regularly So Your Business Appears Current
One of the things that makes a company look completely outdated (and possibly closed down) is if you get to their Facebook page and find that the last post was six months ago.
If you are going to take advantage of social media and have a business page, then it’s important to post regularly so your page doesn’t appear outdated, and people don’t wonder if you’re even still open.
If posting daily or at least weekly is a challenge, then work with a service that can write social media posts for you. Alternately, you can also preschedule your social media posts so you can write several when you have time and then schedule them to go out throughout the week or month automatically.
Facebook pages have this capability. When you write a post, just click the arrow next to publish and choose “Schedule Post.”
You can also use services that allow you to schedule and automate posting for several social media accounts at once. Examples are:
Your Social Reputation Impacts Your Business Reputation
Whenever you post on social media, remember that it could be seen by customers and potential customers. Ask yourself, “How will this impact my business reputation?”
Using social media to your benefit can boost your reputation and your sales as a result.
Have you ever made a social media mistake? Share your experience in the comments!
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