Tips for effective social media and reputation management

by Julie Delaforce November 18, 2016

The best advice stands the test of time – even as times change.  When it comes to social media and reputation management, the Scouts’ mantra rings truer than ever today.

Why?  Because for all the risks associated with doing business in the online world, your greatest risk is having no social media strategy.

Think you can wing it and keep your reputational nose clean by simply keeping an eye on your own online activity?  Think again.  As the numbers of Australians on social networks and digital platforms grow, so does the risk.

Take a look at the stats:  Of the 23 million Australians, an astounding:

  • 15 million are on Facebook
  • 14 million on YouTube
  • 5 million on Instagram
  • 2 million on Tumblr
  • 5 million on LinkedIn and
  • 8 million on Twitter.

And they’re complaining.  Create a bad experience and others will read about it: 66% of all bad reviews occur via social media and apps.

When that happens, you’d better deliver a response pronto because the clock is ticking: 40% of customers who complain via social media expect a response within one hour.

Managing your reputation and minimising your exposure to risk in our increasingly online world is absolutely fundamental and critical to not only business success, but also survival.

Where to start?

You don’t need to participate in all of those social media platforms.

What you do need is to be aware that your customers are active on them and are using growing numbers of apps and sites in this cluttered and dynamic digital space.

This is where you channel the Scouts.  You need a plan to cover all risk types.

  • Legal or regulatory
  • Brand or reputation
  • User or consumer

7 social media must-haves

Regardless of risk type, every business should have the following essentials as a starting point:

Social media policy

  • Social media guidelines
  • Content assessment guides
  • Escalation processes
  • Response matrix
  • Understand platform terms of use, privacy policies, employee code of conduct, and campaign terms and conditions
  • Internal community management guidelines

Plan to get personal

It’s critical to remember that even with all the guidelines, processes and policies in place, it still comes back to one thing: people.

For all the technology driving the digital world, there are real people behind every hi or hack, comment or complaint, pic or post.

Tip 1:  Be human.  Empathise.

One of consumers’ biggest complaints is not being dealt with in a human way.  They don’t want a generic copy and paste response – so don’t give it to them.

A generic example of this is:

Fringe need a trim? Redeem your Altitude Points for statement credits.

Posted by Westpac on Thursday, October 6, 2016


A good example of this is:

Score, paste, grill and sprinkle. BBQ's just got more delicious thanks to Miso Eggplant with Pomegranate.

Posted by Woolworths on Tuesday, October 11, 2016


Tip 2:  Be everybody’s best friend

Engage and educate all staff and departments internally. Get their buy-in before issues arise or as soon as you identify a risk.  Become a ‘social business’.

To this point, QPS has great internal communications via its connected Media team. It also ensures all Local Area Command’s have the training and guidelines to run local channels:


Tip 3:  The power of one – Broadcast versus one-on-one

When you receive a high volume of comments around an issue, broadcasting a message to all via social channels might seem like a good quick fix, but it will attract more activity.  Take the time and effort to respond one-on-one.

Two examples come to mind here. The first is for Commbank. An update was made after a lot of 1:1 responding. Rather than lots of broadcast updates, customers received 1:1 help for their related issues:



Census post (with 556 shares)


Census was admittedly inundated with many more complaints than most brands would expect so this was a good move by them as their resources obviously needed to be focused elsewhere.

Tip 4: Be a good listener

Use social media listening or monitoring tools to identify mentions of your brand and related terms.  Monitor closely and update escalation and response plans for emerging issues.  Connect with advocates to spread positive stories and respond to detractors promptly.

As a good example here, Sensis wisely monitors all mentions of its brand even if its not @mentioned or hash-tagged.


Reputation matters.  When you don’t have a strategy in place to manage it, you risk leaving it not just tarnished, but in tatters.  The most successful risk and reputation managers will be the ones with a plan – and who plan to put the personal back in social.


With Julie’s tips fresh on your mind, take a look at our FREE Social Media Planning Guide here.


This post originally appeared on Mumbrella.