Whilst most people would agree that social media, as part of a fine-tuned online presence should be a key component of almost any business' marketing strategy, very few know how to truly make the most of it. This week we've decided to take a look at four social media tips and tricks that can help you in both managing your business' brand and ensuring that you put your best 'digital footprint' forward.
Conduct a self-audit
Every second of every day, millions of comments, reviews, advertisements and statements are being posted online. With this in mind, it is incredibly important to ensure that your business is conducting frequent and thorough social media audits in order to have a good idea of what is being said about your brand online!
Conducting a social media audit on your business' brand can be advantageous for a variety of reasons. Firstly, administering such an audit allows you to leverage any positive PR coverage that you may have inadvertently received by way of customer testimonials or reviews. Secondly, if you do happen to come across any negative comments or reviews relating to your brand, you will be in a position to quickly rectify the situation by either contacting the author or website operator.
Simply liaising with the author of a negative comment and appropriately responding to their query will demonstrate to both the customer and your online audience that you are responsive, and motivated to deliver great customer service. Similarly, if you are able to resolve a customer's issue in the public domain - other potential customers will notice that your company takes active steps to deal with issues, as opposed to trying to sweep them under the rug (which they have likely witnessed other companies trying to do in the past).
If you come across a frivolous comment or review, getting in contact with the owners of the website in question (e.g. Facebook, Twitter or even review websites such as TrueLocal) may allow you to quickly remove the post, preventing further unnecessary damage to your brand. Unfortunately, even if you as a business owner know for a fact that a particular review is misleading or untruthful, you may find it difficult to prove it to someone outside your company.
Finally, social media audits allow you to ensure that other businesses in the market place are not leveraging off your brand's goodwill or misleading customers into believing there is a relationship between your business and someone else in the market place. Coleman Greig suggests conducting a monthly audit by searching through Google, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and even LinkedIn!
You really can't do too much research, and it is exceedingly important to note that the well-known saying 'all news is good news' is unfortunately not the case in the context of negative online reviews.
Set up Google Alerts
Following on from our first tip, if you have not already done so, Coleman Greig strongly suggests that you set up google alerts for your business' name and any associated branding, such as slogans.
Google alerts are free, and monitor the internet for newly published content that includes your designated keywords and phrases. You can even set your account up to receive daily emails informing you of any new content, so you'll never be out of the loop! Similarly, you can specify the locations within which you'd like Google to search for content, which is advantageous if you are aware of businesses with the same name in other locations that you don't need information on.
With this said, if you do wish to keep tabs on other companies (e.g. competitors) - you can set up alerts for keywords associated with their business! If content is found which does match the phrases you have chosen, you will be notified via an email similar to our examples below:
Whilst the assorted content in the above alerts is harmless, if Google had detected something threatening to my brand (Emily Lucas), I would be in a position to quickly address the situation by either contacting the content's author, or the owner of the website responsible for its publication in order to have the content removed. Setting up Google alerts acts as a second set of eyes for your business' online presence, and is a neat tool that can assist you with conducting your social media audits.
A few things to note:
- You may find that content unrelated to your brand does sometimes slip through the cracks. This will be due, in most cases, to the fact that this content simply includes (by chance) the word/s you've chosen for your alert.
- Whilst each Google account is reportedly limited to 1000 Google alerts, most businesses are unlikely to ever hit this limit - so there is no harm in regularly adding new alerts. By the time you do reach your limit, you may find that a number of your older alerts are no longer needed and can be removed to make room for new alerts.
Check Facebook for unofficial Facebook pages
When Facebook users 'check-in' to a new business location, an unofficial page is created for the company in question at that particular place (see below example). Unofficial pages may be misleading for potential customers who don't know where your actual location is, or anything else about the business - as details pertaining to a particular location sometimes include incorrect, or outdated information.
For example, online users may add incorrect contact and address information to the page, and may therefore inadvertently direct potential customers to an unrelated location. Unofficial pages can be claimed, although this does require the completion of a series of questions to sufficiently verify that it is genuinely the business in question looking to claim the unofficial page. If you find yourself in this situation and are having any sort of difficulty, please contact our Intellectual Property Law team who will be able to assist you.
Claim your social media accounts early
It is important that you open social media accounts and register domain names as soon as you have officially settled on a brand name for your business. This will ensure that you aren't having to settle for unappealing handles due to the name you wanted to register having already been taken (something about @Col3M@NGR3!G just doesn't look right, especially for a respected law firm).
This tip has recently been utilised by Khloe Kardashian, creating an Instagram account for her daughter, True Thompson, in the days following her birth. Whilst we don't expect to see True posting any pictures for a while, Khloe has avoided the headache of trying to reclaim any future accounts pertaining to be her daughter (see below).
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.