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When my grandfather couldn’t get his Internet issue resolved with the cable company, I took to social media to get the matter escalated, knowing the company cared about its online reputation and maintained an account dedicated to solving customers’ problems. After just one Tweet, my grandfather’s issue was resolved.

Social media has become a huge part of every stage in the buyer’s journey. However, many businesses are still not taking advantage of it for maximum benefits and profitability. For example, some may be unaware that you can use social media to boost your online reputation management efforts. Use these tips to jumpstart your company’s own reputation and visibility.

1. Get Customers to Share Positive Reviews & Experiences

You can do this with a simple, gentle reminder or request, such as “Did we exceed your expectations today? Please share your positive experience!” You can place this on the bottom of a receipt, various webpages or on a sign in your establishment. Many customers are quick to share a negative comment or complaint, but most don’t think about voicing appreciation or offering props for good service. It’s important to note that this works best if you do it in advance of negative reviews. In other words, don’t wait until there’s a problem before you begin working on your reputation.

2. Connect With Consumers & Solve Problems

This can demonstrate how your company is adding value to their lives. As mentioned, many large companies have created special social media accounts specifically to address consumer complaints. When customers see that you care and are working to have a positive effect on their lives, it can be quite a boost to your reputation.

3. Find Creative Ways to Tell Your Company’s Story

One of the best ways to do this is with your content. You can give consumers a more personal connection with your company by revealing your history—mistakes and all. You can also use real-life examples of how your product or service has helped someone. Remember to use a friendly, conversational tone instead of spouting corporate speak and confusing jargon. This can all humanize your company and allow you to better relate to consumers, which will enable you to jump ahead of competitors who don’t.

4. Monitor Your Presence & Direct the Conversation

Even if you’re not posting about your company, rest assured that others are, and you should know what they’re saying. For example, customers could be taking to social media in droves to complain about your customer service. If you were unaware of this, you wouldn’t realize how much the issue was affecting your reputation or that you needed to make improvements.

sprout-social-911-guide-pullquote-1-640x3305. Give Your Employees an Avenue to Share Content

It seems like every week there’s another news story about some employee somewhere using the company social media account for an offensive Tweet or ill-conceived comment. This can make your company a national laughingstock and damage your brand for weeks or longer. It’s great when employees have something wonderful to share about your company, and they should feel welcome to do so, but this must be accompanied by a clear set of rules, management oversight and consequences for any misbehavior. Give your employees an easy way to share curated content through a platform designed for advocacy.

6. Rethink How You Use Social Media

You can use it for more than just adding your two cents to a trending topic or directing followers to your latest YouTube video. With so many people checking in on social media so often and others listing it as their preferred method of communication, you may want to expand how you use it. You can use it to post announcements, deliver crisis communication responses and provide information that will help you position your company as a thought leader in your industry.

7. Remember the Power of Social Media

Now that Google has re-established its agreement with Twitter, allowing Tweets to appear in search results, social media can have an even bigger effect on your reputation. For example, if there are just a few negative comments about your company, that may be the first thing prospects see when they Google your company name, instead of the all the good news you wish to share. Increasingly, news media are also picking up on social media posts. It’s clear that your social media posts are not just for a chosen few; potentially everyone could see them, so what you say on these platforms matters to your company, your reputation and your profitability.

The Right Resources for Reputation Management

This can be a lot for any company to take on alone; it may be best to find a qualified PR firm to help you craft exciting content, create inventive campaigns and develop a comprehensive social media strategy that will improve your reputation and boost sales. The right social media tools will help too.

For more insights into online reputation management—including how to stop a social blowup—download the free guide below.