Social media has become an essential part of business. How well your brand represents itself on social media can make or break your company. There are many cringe-worthy stories of CEOs allowing interns to run their company’s social media, only to have said intern post something inappropriate—leading to a massive PR crisis. If it wasn’t hard enough to manage what your social media team is posting across channels, you also need to be aware of what people outside of your organization might be saying about your business.
If this seems like too much to handle, have no fear! Follow these tips on monitoring your brand’s social media.
Writing Social Content
Even if you’re not the one writing your company’s social media content, there should be a process set up for how the content is written. Whether you’re working with an agency or your in-house social team, ask your social media specialists what their process is for writing content for your company. Do they have a process? How do they avoid common writing errors? Make sure that whoever is writing your content is skilled enough to pay attention to these three factors: grammar, voice, and decorum.
Nothing says unprofessional like an amateur spelling error that is posted on your company’s Facebook page for all of your 50k followers to see. If your social writer still doesn’t have a good grasp on the difference between there, their, and they’re, you may want to find a new writer.
But, even the best writer can make a spelling error. To avoid grammar snafus from the get-go, Big Leap’s social team writes all their content in Grammarly. Grammarly is a great tool that automatically detects grammar, spelling, punctuation, word choice, and style mistakes in your writing. It’s not perfect, but it is a great tool for catching those little spelling errors that would have otherwise snuck by.
When it comes to company branding, your business should have an established voice that is carried out through all of your marketing efforts—social media included. Does your social team know and understand your company’s voice? And, in turn, do they carry that voice into their social media writing? It’s always interesting to go to a business’s website and see one voice, only to check out their social media and see something entirely different. In those cases, they almost seem like two completely different entities.
To help keep a consistent voice across channels, your company should have a Brand Bible. As Carrie Cousins puts it in her article Branding 101: Do You Need a Brand Bible?, “A brand bible establishes distinct guidelines for how all aspects of a company’s brand will be handled. It should establish rules for creating a unified and identifiable presence for your brand. It is more than a set of rules for using colors and fonts.” This includes the voice of your company. The beauty of a brand bible is that even if you want an advertising agency to manage your social media, you can simply send them your brand bible and they can learn what your brand voice is.
As mentioned earlier, there are many horrifying examples of social media managers causing PR headaches for their company—all because they weren’t tactful enough. Kenneth Cole will go down in infamy for tweeting “Millions are in uproar in #Cairo. Rumor is they heard our new spring collection is now available online” when thousands of citizens began taking to the streets in Egypt to protest poverty, rampant unemployment, and government corruption. Dee Anna McPherson, head of marketing at Hootsuite, has since deemed the Kenneth Cole tweet as “insensitive.”
No company wants to be viewed as insensitive. No matter who is handling your social media, they need to be aware of current events. They need to not only write content, but research what they are writing about. It’s the year 2018, so every post should come with the question of, “could this possibly offend someone?” Stay away from commenting on tragedies and political issues. Your company should be as unbiased as possible.
The Approval Process
After content is written, it should go through an approval process. Two pairs of eyes are always better than one. The social media team at Big Leap writes out a month’s worth of content and then sends it to clients for approval. This approval process allows the CEO, head of marketing, or another trusted team member an opportunity to review what will be posted by their brand. Our social team loves using Google Sheets to accomplish this. Here is an example of how a monthly content calendar might look:
The content, images, and links to blog posts and articles are all listed out clearly so that the client can see exactly what will be posted. To give their approval, they simply use the column to the far right to choose whether they approve or reject a post. This approval process helps with quality control and making sure that no grammatical errors or inappropriate posts slip through the cracks.
Responding to Negative Reviews
While you may be in complete control of most of your social channels, Facebook allows people outside of your organization to have an impact on your page—for better or for worse. User reviews are a great way to get testimonials out to the public. According to BrightLocal’s 2016 consumer report, 47 percent of consumers reported that they had used Facebook to recommend or review a local business to others. The problem is that not everyone who leaves a review on your Facebook has something nice to say. So, how should you properly monitor your reviews on Facebook—both the good and the bad? Here are some best practices for managing your reputation on social media.
- Check your Facebook page constantly for any new reviews. It’s common for people who use an automatic posting site like Buffer to forget to go in and check their social platforms for any new messages or reviews. Make sure you’re checking your Facebook at least a couple of times a week.
- When you receive a positive review, “Like” it and tell the person thanks. It can be as simple as, “Thanks John! We’re glad you enjoyed our service!”
- When you receive a negative review, respond right away. In the comments below the review, sincerely apologize for whatever the mishap may have been and tell them you will message them offline to see how else you can help. It’s important that other people who might come across the negative review see that you responded quickly, sincerely, and assertively.
- After responding to a negative review, make sure you contact the customer. Depending on the access you have to their contact info, either message them on Facebook or give them a quick call to discuss the matter further.
- Only when you feel the problem has been resolved and the customer is happy should you ask them to reconsider changing their review—even if it’s only from a one star to a three star. Even if the customer doesn’t want to change their review, at least future visitors to your Facebook page will see that you took action right away when someone complained.
Social listening is the process of monitoring digital conversations to understand what customers are saying about your brand online. Someone could have a poor experience with your business and, instead of leaving a negative review on your Facebook page, tweet an unpleasant review on Twitter. How would you ever know about it unless they tagged you in the Tweet? These are conversations you’ll want to know about.
Tools such as Mention and Hootsuite give you social listening capabilities. A lot of social media managers use Hootsuite for its scheduling and posting capabilities without ever realizing that you can create a stream that monitors any mentions of your brand. That way, you get to see the conversations people are having about your business, and you can even choose to respond. The great thing is that the person doesn’t even need to tag your company in their post; Hootsuite and Mention will monitor any time your name is mentioned on social media.
Social media has become an indispensable part of marketing and PR. The brands that stay on top of monitoring their social media will come out on top, especially when their competition is slacking. Think of it this way: say you’re trying to decide between two mattress companies. One has an amazing social presence, their content is always professional with a clear, unique voice, and they have great reviews on Facebook. The other company posts infrequently with no clear voice and has many negative reviews that have gone without responses. Which company would you choose?
Monitor your brand on social media and give your company the reputation online that it deserves.