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3 Lessons I’ve Learned About Social Media Reputation Management

I used to be a rather private person. Wait. Let me rephrase. I still am a private person, I just have a website and several social profiles that I update frequently – compared to the nothing I did several years ago. So, it feels like I am less private since I am accessible and open for an onslaught of criticism, compliments, and comradery by everyone on the internet. I chose to take the plunge and bask in the glow of a digital presence because I deal with small business clients who are struggling with the same burning fear: if I put myself out there online, what do I do about my reputation?

When I tell my clients that, yes, you have to get online now in order to meet your competition, a lot of the time I am met with a mix of absolute abhorrence or complete disinterest. I have gotten used to the fact that I am, typically, the only one in the room thinking, “This is going to be SO much fun.” Because it really can be, we just have to shift their thinking.

Instead of turning away from social media in fear, we should be running toward it with arms wide open through a field of brightly blossomed sunflowers. Especially when it comes to the reputation of a business.


Because social media is THE first place that the customer will have the chance to interact with your client’s business. Sure, they have a website and that’s wonderful (Side note: Everyone should have a website these days and if you don’t, well, then… ¯\_(ツ)_/¯). What you really need is to amp up their social media presence to the point of kick butt. What I mean by that is give your clients a little extra push for their social media – get them to love it as much as we do.

social media and customer service

Image: Shutterstock

As a digital marketer, I try to get on my clients’ social media profiles to monitor engagement as well as monitor incoming posts – it’s one of the services I offer when they sign up for social media. If I notice something amiss, I notify my clients immediately and try to give them some of the lessons I’ve learned along the way. The last thing I want is for my clients to have a bad reputation online and see a decrease in their activity – and then proceed to feel like their social media campaign isn’t working. No one wins in that case and the cycle just starts over – harder for me to go and win them back.

I’ve outlined some tips I’ve found that really help nullify that enormous beast that lurks under the bed, waiting to take us down to social media limbo where business reputations go to die.


Jay Baer, the author of the forthcoming book Hug Your Haters, wrote in his blog post about listening to your customers via social media: “Online customer service software company Conversocial partnered with New York University on research that found that more than one-third of all tweets to companies were about customer service issues, but that only three percent incorporated the company‘s Twitter username with the @ symbol. They are tweeting ABOUT you, but not AT you.” He writes that when customers are tweeting about you and not at you, they are more likely to be candid. But this gives you a great opportunity to really reach out and provide over-the-top customer service. Turn your haters in your lovers, advocates, devoted repeat customers by taking that extra step to notice and listen about their experience with your brand.

Taking the latest viral customer service experience (Go here and read it, take notes, because this is brilliant), Pret A Manger set a great example that we can all learn from.

Social Media and Customer Service examples

Image: Mashable


We know that the company listened to their customer as they responded almost immediately and proceeded to make amends (Dodds writes in his DM, “Thanks! Great service”). The fact that the company took time out of their day to listen to their customer was one way of really setting the stage up for engagement.


Engaging with their customers in a conversation helps build your clients’ reputation up on social media. Facebook now has a feature that gauges how responsive a business is dependent entirely upon how quickly messages, posts, reviews are answered. Great Twitter posts can go viral, like the Pret A Manger example I used earlier. After the customer complained on Twitter, the company responded by asking him to explain via Direct Message (DM). With the problem being resolved, Pret A Manger continued to engage the customer in an epic RAP battle. How great is that? Puns abounded and the interaction went back and forth until Pret A Manger left for the day. A great way to engage the customer and leave things on a good note.


Jay Baer, again, says that we need to be responding to every complaint on every channel. Responding to the customer (and how you respond, mind you) builds up your business reputation and trust with your customers. If other customers witness you handling a negative review in a positive manner, how do you think those customers feel about coming back to your establishment? I bet you they feel just that much more comfortable with giving you repeat business (here are some stats you can reference). CoSchedule has a great blog post on the different things you can do to respond to negative client feedback to regain control of the situation and leave your business with a clear conscious and a better reputation.

I’ve been able to apply all three of these lessons to my own personal brand, too. For instance, I make sure I engage my twitter followers regularly so they know that they are appreciated and their engagement with me is valuable. These lessons apply for agencies, as well, and bleed into other areas of the business’ reputation. Are you engaging your clients frequently? Are you listening to their concerns? How do you respond to criticisms?

Breaking into the social media realm can cause some hesitation from small business owners (I get that most of us don’t run through fields of flowers on the reg.) but it doesn’t mean you should completely shy away from the current state of marketing. The one thing that I make sure to tell my clients is this: If they aren’t going to be the ones in control of their reputation? Who is?