Social media has been a godsend for businesses across nearly all industries. Its value lies in its versatility and ability to help companies achieve various goals.
While marketing and networking are often the first things that come to mind, social media is also perfect for reputation management and boosting your credibility. By using the right networks, carefully monitoring your accounts, and connecting with your target audience, social media can give you a decided edge over the competition.
Here are some ways you can use it to your advantage.
Perhaps the simplest technique is paying attention to what your audience is saying and what the general consensus of the comments is. If there’s a pattern of compliments about a new product or service across Facebook, Google+, and Twitter, this is tangible proof that you’re doing something right.
In this case, it would be smart to rinse and repeat so you can maintain the same level of quality. If you’ve received several complaints about a product or service, there’s probably something to it, and the issue should be addressed as quickly as possible.
Regardless of whether they’re positive or negative, responding to comments shows your audience that their feedback is important. When handled correctly, even complaints on social media can be used to your advantage because you can de-escalate a situation before it intensifies. That way, you have the potential to convert an angry customer into a satisfied one.
Publish Awesome Content
The beauty of social media is that it allows like-minded people to exchange ideas and form relationships that would otherwise be impossible. While posting unique content that’s promotional typically accounts for the bulk of what you find on social networks, publishing non-promotional content is actually more important for building and establishing your brand as an authority.
You can do this by posting interesting articles, blog posts, videos, etc., that are relevant to your industry and which your audience will find interesting. Even if you’re in a “boring” industry, there are plenty of ways to get creative and publish content that will set you apart from the competition. One good example of this is this article, “Top 10 Mortgage Mistakes in Canada,” which was published by a mortgage lender. While mortgage lending would typically be considered a boring industry, this article illustrates the idea that content doesn’t need to be self-promotional (it can, instead, be informational or educational), and can be interesting to the target audience.
Curate Awesome External Content
Peppering curated content into your own blog or individual articles has three advantages. First, you can ensure a steady stream of quality material without having to create it constantly yourself.
Second, it shows customers or clients that you’re not strictly self-serving and you put forth efforts to provide consistently great content even if it’s not your own.
Finally, it can potentially unlock B2B networking opportunities that may come in handy later on. As other authors notice you referencing their work, they’ll often reach out to thank you. This opens the communication lines for further work down the road. This combination is an effective way to improve your reputation and help others become more comfortable doing business with you.
In general, people try to avoid companies that hide their activities and come across as generally sketchy. One of the most critical steps to building relationships is being open and honest about operations and coming across as being relatively personable. That’s why it’s helpful to give consumers a window on your company culture and demonstrate what makes you different from your competition.
Networks like Instagram and Tumblr are perfect for this because of their visual element. Posting images of team members on the job or even outside of the office lets your audience get to know your company on a deeper level.
You might also highlight a particular employee once a month or create a quick video on Vine. No matter which channel you use, offering some first-hand insights into your company and truly being yourself tends to work well for attracting new business and turning one-time customers into repeat sales.
This can also help with expanding your brand equity and claiming a percentage of consumers even in the most saturated of niches.