How to Get a Reputation on Social Media (in a Good Way)

When we first started our social media program, our initial goal was to help increase leads for our sales team. Granted, that was 7 years ago, but it didn’t take long to realize that we may have had loftier aspirations than was reality.

Like all nurturing-related marketing activities, social needs time (a long time, in some cases) to move the needle. And your results ultimately depend on your commitment and engagement. If you are just sharing articles on LinkedIn and hoping a lead will walk through your door, you probably aren’t seeing much return on your time and effort.

You may be better off thinking of social media as a reputational tool, rather than a “lead getter.” Obviously, reputation is a lot harder to quantify, but I think we all can agree that you and your firm’s reputation is your bread and butter. And how can you put a price tag on that?

You have a rep to protect

Social media is one of the most prevalent ways consumers encounter brands and their messages; it’s also the most interactive way. Social media gives you and your brand an amazing medium to tell the exact story you want. It also gives you the opportunity to stay engaged with your audience every day, right in the palm of their hands via their personal devices.


  • Take a look at your website. Is it up to date? Does it reflect your firm’s vision and passions? Is your mission statement highlighted? Do you have a personal presence on your site – not stock photos of baby boomers walking on the beach – you, and brief bios of you and your team. Are your social media channels highlighted, so customers and prospects can easily connect with you? How about thought leadership? In the end, look at the breadth of your site ask yourself: Would *you* want to do business with you?
  • Review your social media activity. You may be posting and sharing, but are you engaging? Are you commenting on articles from your peers? Are you “liking” your clients’ status updates? Are you sharing non-business updates with your clients and prospects? Do you belong to industry LinkedIn groups and are you active on them? (Remember, keep all interactions positive!) Shoot for a 60/40 model – 60% of your activity should focused on liking, commenting and interacting; 40% on sharing your own articles and thought leadership content.
  • Consider your social media content. Are your posts mostly text? Maybe a few pictures? It’s time to embrace video! Video on social can be simple, inexpensive and done quickly by using technology you already own. Your phone is a great way to make engaging video messages for your channels – and the more natural and unscripted, the better (in most cases). Video is the best way to show your personality. Here’s a thought: You could do a weekly money-saving tip each Friday afternoon. You could do a live video from a great conference and use the conference hashtag. Or how about this idea (I’m speechless about how fantastic this is). Video on LinkedIn is also a great idea – it’s not quite as “video-saturated” as the other social platforms. You’ll stand out and help boost your authenticity in a professional platform. Keep it quick, keep it simple, keep it real. Perfection is not the goal – reputation and authenticity is.
  • Check out your competitors. What are they doing well that you can learn from? As importantly, what are they doing poorly that you can capitalize on? What sets you apart from them? What can you offer that they can’t and how can you promote that on social media? No smear campaigns here… just focus on an angle that you can offer clients that the person down the street can’t.
  • Get serious about ORM (online reputation management). There’s a ton of information available about this topic, from tools to help you with social listening and monitoring, to competitive analysis platforms, to strategies for creating crisis prevention and action plans. If you want to know more, this article by Social Media Examiner is great.

Take some of the pressure off

By taking the lead generation and prospecting weight off of your social initiatives, you can make immediate impact by tweaking your reputational efforts. Analytics are still important, so you aren’t completely off the hook for ROI, but it’s a lot easier to track a bump in impressions and engagements, rather than leads and prospects through a long sales funnel. And if a lead walks through your door because of social, you can chalk it up to your stellar reputation.

Please check with your legal and compliance department before implementing any of these suggestions.

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Heather Wilson

Heather Wilson

Heather Wilson is the social media contributor for Practically Speaking and social media manager within the SEI Advisor Network.

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