It’s a familiar scenario in the world of social media. Someone, somewhere says something on social media that isn’t supposed to be said.
Maybe an intern who mistakenly tweeted from the company account instead of their own. Maybe a disgruntled worker leaving the company.
Or maybe just someone who hasn’t quite found the right social media ‘voice’ – the ability to say things with tact and grace, which can happen if you’re not familiar with the way people use and interact on various social media platforms.
Adept social media management isn’t optional. It’s necessary in an age where most of your communications are going to be online – from the top CEO on their LinkedIn page to the newest recruit.
In order to manage your reputation online, you need to have a sense of what you want to achieve. If you’re unsure why you’re online, then you can be susceptible to putting out mixed messages.
It’s also important to have a consistent voice, otherwise you’ll disconnect from the people who are following you. This isn’t just about keeping a cool head. Everyone knows you shouldn’t be swearing and insulting people online.
It’s also about the links and resources you share – are you thinking about how they might help your followers?
For instance, Twitter recently opened its analytics tool to everyone, which shows not only how people are engaging with your tweets, but also your followers’ key interests – are your tweets aligned to those subjects? If they aren’t, you may not be positioning your reputation as well as you could be.
The same goes for adapting to different networks. For example, you wouldn’t replicate your Facebook posts on LinkedIn. Instead, you would post articles and links that paint a picture of the CEO or employee you want to be.
CP Communications chief executive Catriona Pollard says the most important thing to realise is that people are a personal brand whether they recognise it or not, and therefore they have to take control of that brand.
“Understand if you’re a large company that people are talking about you whether you like it or not – so control that reputation.”
Think carefully about every link you post and ask: am I adding value? What are you giving your followers that they can actually use? If you can’t answer that question, then rethink the material you’re sharing.
Also consider how people perceive you. If you’re a suit-and-tie CEO, you might not be able to get away with informal quips about the latest pop culture trends. A skinny jeans-wearing head of a digital agency might have more scope to do that sort of thing.
Pollard says it’s important to remember that, in today’s work environment, social media can provide extensive leads, which is another reason to keep your reputation intact.
“You have to build that reputation – it’s going to get you more work or clients. Don’t lose control of it.”