Managing your reputation online has become essential for any organisation (business or school) using social media to market. It still stands that word of mouth is a key principle in terms of marketing – for both the good and the bad – but it must be recognised that word of mouth now has global reach through the use of social media.

The Statistics:

The use of social media is the top Internet activity for individuals and businesses today.

  • Facebook states that 70% of their users log in every day – that’s 70% of an estimated 1.8 billion users using the same network daily. 43% log in multiple times each day
  • 59% of Instagram, 38% of Twitter, 27% of Pinterest and 22% of LinkedIn users log in daily
  • 60% of all Internet traffic comes from mobile and tablet devices

It comes as little surprise that customer services are spotting this trend and responding in kind, quickly adapting to the modern demands of mobile technology and social media.

Monitoring

67% of consumers now use networks such as Twitter or Facebook for customer services – This means your school should know how to monitor chatter relating to its brand.

You cannot rely on consumers directly mentioning you in their posts – only 3% of consumers will send posts containing tags (Facebook) or @handles (Twitter). This means information can easily be missed by you – but seen by others.

It is important to know how to search “outside the box” on your social platforms. Both Twitter and Facebook have search functions with helpful features, like a ‘sentiment’ filter to help pick out comments that are positive or negative.

Outside of Facebook and Twitter there are other options to help you monitor social chatter.

Google Alerts is a quick way to receive notifications whenever your specified term, for example, your school name, is mentioned across the web. You can set these up to be received as an email (Gmail account is not required) whenever an alert is generated.

Hoot Suite & Tweetdeck are great tools to keep an eye on social chatter. You can set up a multitude of filters to monitor your social accounts, #Hashtags and brand. More tools are being released, data-mining the 24/7 constant streaming of content!

Responding

Why is a good response so important? The simple answer is this: it will be seen. More often than not this will be by the consumer (parents) and their peers (friends and family).

The other reason is simple: when you do good things your parents will talk about it. Likewise, if your response is negative and unsatisfying it will be spoken about.

  • 42% of consumers will talk about and recommend a brand when they receive positive social customer care.
  • On the flip-side 53% of consumers will talk about bad experiences.

There may well be times when you, as a teacher, are at the receiving end of a bad comment or awkward question on a social network. What should you do? It is important to remain professional and courteous – report the comment/awkward question to your communications or senior leadership team.

“If you have a strong, engaged community already – then THEY will police any negative posts – as this is seen as a direct attack on them. Remember, they did choose the school for their child!”

If your school is yet to fully embrace social media, you should always respond calmly to negative posts, and aim to take conversations offline. Invite the person into the school, or call to discuss the issues. Alternatively, take the conversation into direct messages.

Social media allows you to engage with your community – who in turn will promote you. This will either be positive or negative, depending on how they have been treated. Making sure your community is happy is paramount to receiving good praise and will prove to be your most powerful marketing tool, at very little cost. Monitor and respond to social chatter about your school in a good manner and the return on  investment will be significant.

By: Simon Noakes