Is Your Reputation & Business At Risk Without Your Realizing It?
Julius Caesar was told to “Beware the Ides of March” by a soothsayer. Ignoring the warning led to his downfall on this day in 44 BC. Do you know where your reputation and business may be at risk from your social media, content marketing and blogging activities?
While some companies are afraid to engage on social media due to the fear of negative feedback, many others overlook the more obvious dangers.
Here are fifteen social media, content marketing and blogging gotchas that can endanger your business and reputation without your realizing it and actionable marketing tactics to get you back on track.
Don’t assume your employees understand what’s needed to make your social media, content marketing and blogging systems secure. It’s your responsibility to set guidelines.
- Passwords. Follow best practices and require employees to have at least eight characters in their passwords, preferably a mix of letters, numbers and symbols. They shouldn’t be obvious dictionary words (or proper names.) Require employees to change their passwords on a regular basis.
- Admin and User Rights. The Admin configures and controls the software and grants other users privileges, such as the ability to author and edit posts. Don’t name your admin user, “Admin!” or anything so obvious that an outsider can guess. When an employee leaves your organization, delete his or her user profile; if it’s an admin, ensure that you have someone else who can handle this function. Before you lay someone off, make sure that they no longer have access to your social media pages. While this is standard procedure in large and regulated firms, it may not be on the radar in a smaller firm that can have negative results.
Most people don’t necessarily consider the impact of issues with their technology. Don’t put your company at risk by leaving your technology unmanaged.
- Know what you’re adding to your site. To this end, only use plug-ins that are well known and reputable. Have your technology team check that new code works and doesn’t include anything funny.
- Update software. Don’t ignore the notices to update your software since running old versions increases the potential for hacker attacks.
- Regularly backup your content. Don’t depend on a third party to have a copy of your latest information. Have rules and procedures in place to use the backup. A backup is no good if no one knows how to restore from it.
- Optimize your database regularly. Clean up unapproved comments and spam. Run an optimizer on your database to get rid of old post revisions to improve performance.
Show someone’s home
Social media, content marketing and blogging aren’t set-them-and-leave-them marketing. You need to be present and engaged and that includes your senior executives. (Understand that consumers trust firms who are engaged on social media more.)
- Maintain your activity level. While a business may not be able to be present on social media 24/7, you need to have a constant, predictable level of activity. You can’t just show up once a month and post comments. At a minimum, you should manage audience expectations as to when you’ll be available on social media platforms. Some firms set hours like they do at retail. (Check out how we spend our time on social media.)
- Set expectations for social media interaction. Let customers and the public know what you’ll respond to and how you’ll respond. Of course, it’s optimal to respond on the same platform as the inquiry was made.
- Monitor what’s happening on social media regarding your business. At a minimum, check what’s being said and done on your social media pages as well as related forums such as Yelp and TripAdvisor. Where you have sufficient resources, track mentions of your company, products and senior executives. Respond where appropriate but don’t feed the trolls or get into a pissing contest with a detractor in front of customers and the public.
- Don’t launch social media campaigns when no one’s around. Reduce the chance for problems and don’t start social media campaigns on weekends and holidays when no one’s paying attention. If something goes wrong with your social media marketing, you need to be able to respond quickly.
Protect your business and reputation by defining your terms in the legalese associated with your content or blog. If you’ve got a legal department, here’s an area to get their input on.
- Define your terms. These are the rules your customer or website visitor must abide by to use you service or access your content. While most participants don’t read the TOS (aka Terms Of Service) on social media platforms, it’s important to define how your audience can use your content and when. Creative Commons can help you with this.
- Delineate your disclaimers. The goal is to limit your liability with regard to the use of the information you publish.
- Define your comment policy. Let your visitors know what’s acceptable and what’s not on your social media and blogging platforms. Among the factors to consider are: will comments be moderated, what type of language is acceptable, will comments be responded to, and is it acceptable to link to other content in the text of the comment?
- Outline your guest blogger policy. Do you accept guest bloggers? (Note: This blog doesn’t accept guest blog posts!) If so, how do you determine what’s suitable content? How does the content have to be presented? Do you have any other requirements? How many links can a writer include to his own content or site? Define who owns the content and the period of time for exclusive use of the information.
You must be vigilant to ensure that your social media, content marketing and blog remain risk free. To this end, it’s worth taking the time to define what’s acceptable for your employees and your target audience.
How do you manage your organization’s reputation and risks on social media, content marketing and blogs?
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Branding, by definition, is about imprinting our identity onto others. Traditionally, it’s been about telling people, “if you want to fit in, first you must buy in.”
In this manifesto, CJ argues that Belonging is more powerful. When you’re in the business of helping others design their identity, you access something deeper and more permanent than their desire to just keep up, you access their desire to matter.
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Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/virtusincertus/4095265360/