mistakeWhat do Ashton Kutcher, Ragu and Anthony Weiner have in common? They have all made significant social media blunders. It doesn’t need to be racy pictures, snide comments, or a unfortunate typo – these days any little sliver even a rational personal view can be used against you. It’s important to avoid the pitfalls of common social media blunders and remember the following concepts that you can use if you aren’t paying top dollar to a New York SEO agency  to clean up your online reputation.

1. It’s Not Really Private

We no longer live in a world where the day to day slip-ups of a business can easily be forgotten, an employee brought your customer the wrong order? Your wait staff had an off day and wasn’t as polite as she should have been? Your sales director made a snide comment in a meeting with a potential client? Previously these types of mistakes were just things that were a one off. No one other than the parties involved had to know about them, but in a world now filled with social media, review sites and personal blogs nothing is private anymore, everything you do and say is open to discussion in the digital dialogue.

2. Social Media Contracts

It would seem straightforward from both a logistics point of view and a legal point of view that, if your employees are extensions of your business and your brand you would expect them to maintain that corporate integrity in all their endeavours, and while this policy is based around the principle be proactive, not reactive, it may not always work, but at the very least you are able to protect yourself legally from fallout if an employee posts something distasteful on a social media platform, or you need to terminate them due to their public actions.

3. Personal or Pleasure?

One of the most important things to remember is that your brand is a separate entity from you. Far too many companies combine business with pleasure and drag polarizing social and political issues into business matters. Do I care about my toilet paper companies stance on gay marriage? That’s a trick question, it’s a company, it shouldn’t have a stance. You and your employees need to remember that your corporate social media accounts represent your business, not you, not an affiliation and not a political party, otherwise you risk polarizing and ultimately losing a large portion of your market.

4. Anger Breeds Hatered

Far too often when an angry patron takes to a socuial media platform or review platform to voice an angry and negative opinion about a product, service or person they are met with an equally angry and brutish retort from the other side. While you may think you are justly defending yourself in this public argument the only thing you are doing is tarnishing your reputation in the eyes of alienated onlookers. To not take a defensive or competitive tone with your customers, level with the customer, register their complaint, tell them how you plan to rectify it and consider re-establishing the customers trust via an exchange or refund. Not only does this act help to re-win a lost customer, but it increases the trust of potential customers as well. (It may also be important to consider where the complaint came from in the first place and see if you can take steps to prevent it in the future – remember all complaints come from a grain of truth).

5. Don’t Dismiss

Many managers think that they can just shrug off online reviews, they won’t matter, people won’t look for them, and they couldn’t be more wrong. Not only are most of your customers looking you up online before they get into bed with you, but they are likely also expecting that you are reading your reviews and using this to help mould your service. Take the time to respond to negative feedback, apologize and try and rectify the situation. Customers and potential customers will appreciate the feedback 

Susan Heitz is a marketing publicist at Synqk.com an SEO Agency from New York

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