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Protecting Businesses In The Digital World
What are the very real consequences of negative social media posts?

And which strategies do businesses need to implement to ensure they protect their reputation in the social sphere?

We’ll be looking at those issues in our latest blog on Protecting Businesses In The Digital World

What happens if you have your Gerald Ratners moment online?

What happens if someone from your company does something wholly inappropriate like Justine Sacco who tweeted “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!”

What happens if an employee of your does what Laura Goodman did and hinted that she’d “spiked a vegan” in the restaurant she worked in?

You’ll notice all of the threats we’ve mentioned above are Internal Threats to your business

When people think about reputation management they often look externally rather than the impact staff make so to redress the balance we’ll be looking at both Internal Threats and External Threats to businesses

Your biggest failure is 90% of your staff don’t understand social media

Social Media has become something that sits in a marketing department or that one person is responsible for as “one of many tasks”

It needs to be bigger than that

The fact that your staff don’t understand social media is the very reason there are content droughts, why poor customer service ends up as a viral horror story and why brilliant staff aren’t able to contribute to the success of your social media

Most employees view social media as something they do in their social time – they need to understand that social media is important for the businesses goals

If you work for someone else you can’t even pick up a box without attending a full days health and safety course to lift up a box

And yet marketing – one of the most important functions of your business – is handed over to someone with zero training

We live in a world where 93% of purchasing decisions are influenced by social media and therefore social media can be make or break for your business

So therefore, treat social media with the upmost importance and at the very least put your staff on a half days social media course

If you want to be the very best in your industry at social media, implement a social media training program where everyone in the organisation is brought up to date every 6 months

Your business should not be suffering content droughts – when a content drought happens you bore your audience

We’ve probably used that phrase in 3 or 4 blogs this year and we will continue to do so

Your content library should be packed with visual content be that photos, videos, graphic design and every story should be told

Stories should have a beginning, a middle and end

And it should be documented at every opportunity

Digital champions for each area of your business should be empowered to provide content to the dedicated social media manager to allow them to do their job

When it comes to content the mission should be over deliver rather than just do what is necessary

The word new is a magic word that brings so much back to your business

When you think of an employee advocacy schemes you immediately think of huge companies like Barclays, IBM, Apple and so on

There’s no reason an employee advocacy scheme can’t apply to a small business with 3-5 employees

If you have a dedicated social media manager who has great content and a business where all the staff believe in great customer service – it makes it easier for employees to get behind everything you’re doing on social media

The average Facebook user now has about 338 friends

The Average Twitter User Now has 707 Followers

Imagine getting your staff behind the business sharing your key updates on Social Media as well

An employee advocacy scheme can often mean that your updates reach double, triple or more the audience they normally would

There are measurement tools for virtually everything you do on Social Media

Facebook & Instagram Insights, Twitter Analytics, Google Analytics

Hey – there’s even that quaint old fashioned thing of asking people how they found you!!

That’s how many track ROI for their business.

Measure Measure and then Measure some more and do it at least on a weekly basis so you can adapt and change what you do to make the maximum impact

Often what happens with businesses new to Social Media is they will give it a few months and not measure what they’re doing until the point months later when they say it’s not working.

If they’d have measured in week 1, 2, 4 and so on they’d have been able to put changes in place and look in-depth at what is going right or wrong



First things first – one customer complaint will not destroy your business

So relax and don’t avoid social media for business simply because of some of the vile things you’ve witnessed on social media on a personal level

When a complaint comes in the 1st thing to decide is whether if it’s a genuine complaint or a troll

You need to ask questions like

Did this happen? Is it true? It is an exaggeration of the truth? Is it slander?

If you were present in the business you’ll know immediately what was the truth and if it wasn’t you need to allow staff to tell their side of their story

One of the things we always do once verifying the facts of what happened is look at the social media profiles of who is complaining to decide what to do next

Are they generally positive or are they serial complainers?

Which other reviews have they left?

The numbers of followers or connections they have doesn’t ever come into it

A genuine complaint from someone with 5 followers should be taken as seriously as a genuine complaint from someone with 500 followers

What you’re looking for is keys as to their character and demeanour

If it’s genuine respond with empathy – put yourselves in the shoes of the customer and offer to chat to them on the phone or email so they you can get to the heart of the problem away from social media and turn them around to a superfan

If it’s a troll often the best solution is to ignore

If it’s a troll and there are slanderous accusations sometimes the only solution is to contact the lawyers

If someone crosses over to harassment of business owners or staff then log a report to the police

If you’re not the person in the organisation that can handle the complaint make sure you have an escalation procedure in place so that even out of hours you have at least 2 points of contact where people can respond with immediate effect

A complaint is an opportunity

An opportunity to look at your offering and make the work in progress the finished object

The person should be thanked for bringing this to attention and a policy / product / service change can be implemented so that the same complaint doesn’t happen again

Embrace these genuine complaints as the worst thing someone can do is not tell you, but tell everyone they know about how unhappy they are

The odd negative review makes you look more authentic

5 Stars are great – but in fact, people are more likely to believe 4.7 / or 4.8

No one is perfect and as long as the positive outnumber the bad reviews by a sizeable amount then you’re still winning

The key is never allowing the negative review to be at the top of your page for too long. So make sure at a regular basis your customers know where to review your business – especially those ones that come in every week

And make sure your positive reviews are recent – no one cares if you have 5 star reviews that are 12 months old

Social Media is about storytelling and telling positive stories on a regular basis

Some businesses will have a positive story in the bank to push out when negativity breaks

The best brands have so many stories in the bank that it becomes a part of what they do a negativity is always a blip on an otherwise positive brand sentiment

Think of the local brands you love

They’ll have stories and launches that make you smile on a regular basis

If you foster a true community where your fans love your business as much as you do, they’ll back you at times of need

That’s the difference between a brand that sells and a brand that cares about their audience

When we’ve worked with businesses that have done that – if there’s been a trolling incident, an unjustified complaint or a review – our customers and audience have jumped in to defend the business and you can’t get better than

Customers that are prepared to fight your corner are customers for life

Chat to us about Social Media Marketing for YOUR organisation , so we can better understand YOU and what will grow your organisation

We can only find out what is unique to your business by chatting with you

Look at our Social Media Training and Social Media Management services


Please call Alex on 07806774279 or email

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Alex McCann

Author Alex McCann

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