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The Role of Social Media in Online Reputation Management

The Role of Social Media in Online Reputation Management

Using social media is mandatory when you’re trying to build an online presence for yourself or your business. For businesses, social media can be a tool to help attract new customers, grow revenues, and quickly mitigate issues stemming from customer complaints. Both businesses and individuals should use social media as part of a proactive approach to their online reputation management.

Reputation Defender, which offers comprehensive online reputation management services, describes reputation management as the process of taking control of the Web content associated with you or your business. It involves creating a positive online presence—on websites, social media profiles, blogs, forums, and so on—and then ensuring people see it. As part of this process, Reputation Defender often recommends businesses and individuals create profiles across multiple social media channels to have more control over their image.

Social media can have a powerful impact on people’s purchasing decisions. Similarly, how you come across on social can affect whether you’re hired for a job or not. With that in mind, here are some key points to consider when using social media for online reputation management.

Make the Best First Impression

Social media is often the first point of contact for people interested in learning more about you or your business. While LinkedIn has traditionally been thought of as the main social media channel for building professional relationships, you should establish a personal brand that carries through on multiple platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. For instance, if you're pursuing a career in sports medicine, you could write a bio for LinkedIn about your career journey and detail your relevant skills. Your timelines on other social media platforms should contain relevant sports medicine posts, and you should follow and interact with professionals in the field.

Whether intentional or not, every post you share can have a positive or negative impact on your online reputation. While it's important to be as professional as possible, it’s also good to show some color and personality. However, avoid being cruel or sharing false information. Before making a post, Reputation Defender suggests asking yourself: Is what I'm saying kind, necessary, helpful, or true?

Consider Your Friends, Followers, and the Golden Ratio

Social media is no different than real life in that you will be judged not only for your own actions, but the friends you keep. You can choose to be friends with or follow controversial figures, but it's likely that some people will either unfriend you or choose not to follow you because of that connection. If you receive a friend request from someone you don't know, make sure to review their profile to see how you may share a connection and if they post any controversial content.

Your online reputation on Twitter is not only affected by who you follow, but your follower-to-following ratio. The "golden rule" for effective online reputation management on Twitter is to at least have a similar number of followers as the amount of people you follow. For instance, if you have 500 followers you should try to follow 500 people or less.

Act Appropriately

When making new posts or replying to others, avoid profanity, angry diatribes, and oversharing personal information. You should also avoid sharing inappropriate photos and any content that may be misleading or untrue. To avoid unintentionally damaging your online reputation from prior posts, you should also complete audits of each of your social media accounts to remove any past controversial posts, evidence of excessive alcohol or drug use, and angry responses to other posts and comments.

Respond to Customer Complaints

It’s tempting, but try to avoid getting into arguments on social media. Even those who "win" an online argument run the risk of hurting their reputation for engaging in such behavior in the first place. A good rule of thumb is to avoid commenting on controversial subjects or responding to personal attacks.

Businesses, however, should go out of their way to respond to complaints or negative reviews from customers on social media platforms. This can help increase customer trust and boost audience engagement.

Respond to negative reviews right away—this sends the message that you care about your customers and are committed to righting any wrongs. Thank the customer for their feedback, apologize, describe the source of the problem, and say what you’re doing to ensure it does not happen again. You can offer a refund or discount on future services as part of your apology if you wish.

Be Active and Monitor Accounts

It's not enough to just have accounts with every social media site. You should try and be as active as possible on each and make sure your profile is up to date with accurate information. You don't necessarily have to check these accounts every day, but it can be helpful to set Google alerts that notify you every time someone mentions your name online.

Social media is a big component of your online reputation, so don’t ignore it if you want to look your best online. It may take some time and effort to establish and manage your social media accounts, but it’s well worth the effort.

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