How to Manage (and Monitor) Your Reputation on Social Media

Social Media has become inescapable in this day and age -- knowing how to correctly use it to control your online reputation is absolutely critical.

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By Brook Zimmatore

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Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube; it's tough to do business these days without having at least a fledgling presence on these and other social media sites. Although the purest definition of social media is "a technology platform that connects people," it can also be a valuable advertising platform that gives a company a way to directly engage its fans on a wide scale.

Social media from a marketing and PR perspective should be used to hold a conversation with the public, and brands should be leveraging their experts to engage, pursue and control that conversation. This is how the most successful brands engage, listen and interact with their customers across a variety of platforms. The unsuccessful ones forget this, which makes them appear stale or distant at times — and sometimes even the source of anger as "greedy corporate giants," because mismanaged social media is the perfect recipe for a bad reputation.

Related: How to Manage (and Repair) Your Business' Online Reputation

The social media (reputation) manager

A good social media reputation hinges on the company's social media manager. This person, or team, is responsible for ensuring the company's social media has a distinct and effective voice. Social media managers are hunters by nature, scouring every platform for any mention of the brand in every possible variation (even setting up alerts for common misspellings of the brand's name), all to find the discussions being had around that brand, product or service.

As an example, let's look at a typical task for a social media manager for Coca Cola. The hunter quality I mentioned earlier would reflect as follows.

On Twitter, active trackers would be set up for every possible variable of the brand's search term:

  • Coca-Cola

  • Coke

  • CocaCola

  • Coca Cola

  • CoccaCola

  • CocoCola

  • Etc.

Other things to include are quotes around the terms to make sure that only those exact spellings are included in search results, as well as a daily rundown of any hashtags that show up that mention the brand at all.

Depending on the responsibilities of the social media manager, they might need to extend these variables exponentially to include corporate names, executives, locations, geographies, events and so on.

Social media monitoring tools

There are plenty of social media monitoring tools available on the internet, ranging from free software to ones with pretty hefty subscription fees. Any professional social media management software worth its salt should provide these features:

  • Proactive sentiment analysis

  • Ability to monitor multiple social media platforms

  • Advanced keyword listening

  • Customizable alerts

The importance of guidelines

Because social media is active 24/7 around the world, there will be different people handling a brand's social media accounts at any given moment. A brand needs to have clear guidelines for its social media reputation, and all team members need to be practiced in those guidelines. Having a dedicated plan in place for continuity's sake is an important step as well.

A variety of team members, from the people actually engaging in conversations, to the managers who oversee strategy, contribute to overall success. It's important to maintain a communication style that's consistent with the brand's overall image (a brand known to be fun-loving shouldn't be putting out uber-serious content, for example). Insights and reports also need to be generated and shared across the company on a regular basis to help inform executive strategy.

Related: Beginner's Guide to Social Media Marketing

The bottom line

A company can't afford not to have a comprehensive social media reputation monitoring strategy in this day and age. It's too ubiquitous; it's always there and always on. To do this effectively, a good social media reputation manager and advanced social media monitoring tools are both necessary. The potential upside is too great, and the potential downside too devastating, to cut corners in either of these areas. Don't wait until a reputation crisis occurs to implement or perfect your social media strategy — as JFK once said, "The best time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining." If you monitor regularly and maintain strong communication and engagement now, then you'll be able to effectively solve upsets before they escalate, ensuring your reputation remains intact.

Brook Zimmatore

Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor

CEO of Massive Alliance

Brook Zimmatore is a media and publishing technologist, entrepreneur and author. He specializes in building technology for people and publishers that improves the information provided in the media.

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