Have you ever been so frustrated with a brand that you had no other option but to unleash all your anger on social media?
Don’t worry – I am guilty of it too.
And let me tell you this – I’m not a professional complainer. I don’t get on social media with a complaining spree immediately after having a bad experience with a brand.
First, I calmly explain my issue to the brand’s customer service agent, considering they have a customer service department in place. If I see them making efforts to address my issue, I’m willing to give that brand another chance.
On the other hand, if the customer service agents are disrespectful and if I see negligence on their side, I turn to the power of the internet to voice my grievances.
Here’s an example of a customer bashing Emirates NBD on Twitter –
Trust me on this one – if you look up keywords like “we apologize” or “we’re sorry” on Twitter, you’ll find out people bash a lot on social media. And I’m not saying these people shouldn’t do it. If they’re paying money, they deserve superior quality customer service.
One viral negative social media post can seriously damage your brand’s reputation. And sometimes, no matter how hard you try, customers will talk about their bad experiences with your brand on social media.
To protect your brand, you need to do something about it.
And that’s what this article sheds light on.
This post reveals some effective tactics for protecting your brand image on social media. Trust me, you don’t want to miss out on this one.
Buckle up as we’re ready to dive in 3…2…1…
6 Effective Ways to Protect Your Brand Image on Social Media
Watch what you say on social media. What if you end up talking about something controversial? What if you respond rudely to a negative comment? You must be cautious about what you post and how you react on social media. To help you avoid any pitfalls and protect your brand image, incorporate these six effective tactics –
- Develop a Clear Set of Social Media Guidelines
- Build a Streamlined Approval Process
- Respond to Negative Comments Politely & Act Smart
- Avoid Controversial Topics
- Use Social Listening Tools
- Hire a Reliable Social Media Marketer
Develop a Clear Set of Social Media Guidelines
Whether you handle your company’s socials all by yourself or have handed them over to your employee(s), you need to be really picky about what you post on social media, how you interact, and to who you hand over your accounts.
That’s because your company’s life depends on it.
Having a clear set of social media guidelines in place can help you give your employees a clear understanding of:
- How to manage your company’s social media accounts
- What kind of content they should post, and what to avoid
- How to avoid a social media crisis. This includes dealing with negative comments, responding to your customers’ complaints smartly, and more
- How to engage with your audience
- How to protect your customers’ privacy. If they’re interacting with your brand on social media, you must ensure that their conversations and data are secure
- How to avoid legal issues to protect your brand from legal consequences
- And more!
These guidelines will act as the do’s and don’ts for your employees. On the other hand, if you’re planning to outsource your social media marketing efforts, you can give this guidelines document to the agency you hire to give them a brief understanding of the same.
A social media guidelines document typically comprises the following sections (you can have additional sections depending on your needs):
To help you get started, I’ve created a general outline of social media guidelines that you can tailor to your company’s specific needs and goals. You may find it here. Feel free to take it as a starting point.
Build a Streamlined Approval Process
Yes, you should give your employees (or social media agency) creative freedom when it comes to creating social media content. But at the same time, you should take the much-needed steps to ensure that these posts don’t:
- Contain inappropriate or offensive language
- Contradict your brand’s messaging and values
- Violate laws or regulations
- Focus on controversial topics
Even a single social media post can destroy your brand reputation, leading to bad PR. You need to be mindful of these posts and ensure that the content posted on your socials aligns with your company’s goals and values.
Developing social media guidelines will help guide your employees, but you also need to avoid any room for mistakes. Hence, you must build a streamlined approval process that lets you or the person in charge approve or disapprove the posts before they’re published on your socials. Also, you should be able to give your graphic designer, videographer, and all the people who are responsible for creating social media content real-time feedback.
To know more, read Sprout Social’s blog post on how to build a seamless social media approval process. Highly recommended!
Respond to Negative Comments Politely. Act Smart
Natasha was a social media marketer at a large retail company in the US. From interacting with customers online to managing the brand’s accounts, she wore many hats. One fine day, she saw a hate comment on her company’s Instagram handle. She was having a bad day, so instead of responding politely, she let her anger get the best of her.
Natasha lost her cool and responded, “I can’t believe you have the audacity to criticize our brand. You’re such an entitled brat. Maybe that’s the reason nobody wants to help you out.”
This exchange went viral. People started sharing screenshots of this exchange wherever they could, from Reddit to Instagram – everywhere online. The company was faced with a PR disaster.
As a result, the company lost many customers. They were subject to a lot of order cancellations. Their Google Business Profile and other review sites were flooded with hate reviews. The company’s CEO called for an urgent meeting and was forced to apologize to address the issue.
Natasha’s bad mood cost the company their years of hard work. The reputation they built over the years was gone in a flash. POOF! And obviously, she lost her job.
Anything you do on social media can go viral immediately. So, you must teach your employees to respond to negative comments politely. Here are a few examples of the polite way to respond:
- We’re incredibly sorry to hear about your bad experience. Could you please DM us with additional details so we can try our best to resolve this for you?
- Thanks for bringing this issue to our attention. We seriously apologize for the frustration. Could you please DM us with additional details so we can try our best to resolve this for you?
Depending on the situation and what your customers are complaining about, make sure you come up with polite and relevant replies to avoid any PR disaster.
Avoid Controversial Topics
You need to be really cautious about what you post on social media.
Read that again!
You don’t want to hurt your audience’s beliefs and values. At the same time, you don’t really want to have social or political implications.
The only way to avoid this problem is not to talk about controversial topics. Some of the most common examples of controversial topics in the US include gun control, climate change, race relations, healthcare reform, and LGBT rights. Don’t talk about these topics at all. But if it’s ethically important/aligned with your business cause to create content around one or more of these topics, be really cautious. Understand your audience’s beliefs and values. Be respectful and factual. Set ground rules for commenting because you want the discussion to be productive and respectful. Be mindful, especially when it comes to covering controversial topics.
Use Social Listening Tools
I love using social listening tools like Sprout Social and Agorapulse.
With these tools in your arsenal, you don’t really need to hop onto individual social media platforms one by one and look for brand mentions and user comments.
These tools will do the heavy lifting for you as they will aggregate all the comments and mentions related to your brand across multiple platforms in one place. This will, in turn, help you:
- Respond to customer feedback at a lightning-fast pace.
- Monitor your brand’s online reputation.
- Identify potential leads.
- Gain insights into your audience’s interests and behaviors.
All you need to do is feed these tools with the right keywords. For example, I tagged Redfox Visual’s Twitter handle and asked Rachel, the social media marketer at Redfox Visual, to inform me if she received an alert on Agorapulse.
And she did!
I also linked to their website on one of my LinkedIn posts. And it showed up on Agorapulse.
The magic of the 21st century!
BTW- I’m writing this post in January 2023. So let me wish you a happy and prosperous new year!
Build a Social Media Crisis Plan
What if, even after being extra careful and following the protocol, there’s a social media crisis? You need to have a crisis management team in place. These don’t necessarily need to be dedicated people who help with helping you deal with the crisis. Instead, you can just appoint people from your team to be in charge, in case there’s a serious social media crisis.
We recommend building a diverse team of crisis consultants, public spokespersons, and more who will share their opinions and unbiased perspectives in case there’s a crisis. This team should closely work with the C-level executives or the owner to deal with the matter strategically and smartly.
To give you a head start, I created a social media crisis plan you can modify or add to certain sections depending on your company’s needs. You may find the document here.
We Can Help You Protect Your Brand Reputation!
At Redfox Visual, we understand how important it is to protect your reputation online. That’s why we have a dedicated team, tools, systems, and processes in place to help brands safeguard their reputation on their socials and mitigate crisis situations.
And we’d love to help you with the same.
In addition to reputation management services, we also offer strategic management and advertising services to help brands strengthen their presence online.
Who are we?
Dive into the Redfox Visual Knowledge Hub: