Be it a start up business or a mid level company (not to mention business giants), if you are not making use of the social media boom, you are losing out. The companies realize this, and therefore, the need to consciously create a Corporate Image – one that reflects the true spirit of your Brand, and mirrors the business ethics and principles you stand by.
The key to successful Brand building lies in the right portrayal of your business. If you think just anyone can do it as a child's play – think again. I was reading this article the other day which mentioned a couple who were the owners of this Bakery in Arizona. Though not exactly same, yet what could be a takeaway from this episode is how one needs to learn to take criticism. It is important to understand that the world is not after you attacking your every move. The impact of a negative social media interaction could be enormous and may result in serious damages to the business and the Brand.
A few measures that could be key to, not just your Brand's social survival, but as a successful and thriving corporate identity that your customers would take pride in associating with. The below highlighters are simple yet frequently forgotten and ignored rules of the game.
- Keep personal and corporate profiles separate
Clichéd? Yes, but cannot reiterate enough – it IS the golden rule. Each of us likes to connect and share, like and follow different views and perspectives on social media, and personally we can make choices that in no way relate to, nor represent the Brand (not until you own the Brand!). Therefore mixing your corporate page and your personal profile may lead to serious repercussions that are best avoided. Imagine a pet company liking leather items!
- Ensure you represent a responsible corporate image
Building and maintaining a corporate image is a responsible task, and needs to be done professionally. Once the public profile is created, be careful with who you associate yourself with, who you befriend, who you follow and most importantly, what you write.
- Take customer feedback seriously, and implement amendments
The corporate profile is just a medium of connecting with customers, offering them a platform to connect with their brand, get to know the people who run the show, and get first hand updates in everything new. Pay attention to detail.
- All comments or feedback on social media sites do not need a response or a reaction
Understand this – people will use this platform to share their experience with the brand, their feedback (and they will be more vocal about negative feedback) and their expectations. Depending on your social media success and the strength of your brand, there may be posts ranging between 5 and 500 everyday. It is not necessary nor expected that all posts have to be responded to. Not to the extent of discouraging building a virtual bond with your customers, but apart from the ones which really are worth a mention, skip the rest and set expectations right.
- For a not so positive remark, avoid immediate response -- take time to deal with it
Remarks and reviews often times may not be very pleasant. It is all the more important to acknowledge them appropriately, discuss the issue internally before making public announcements or clarifications. While it is important to address every critical issue raised, as you are answerable to your clients and consumers alike, it is a skill to pick and choose how and when to answer them best.
- Even when you feel the need to defend the Brand, be extra careful with your supporting data
There will be moments when eyebrows may be raised and you may have an urge to shout out loud and clean the air around your business policies and clear the controversies, sometimes silence can save a lot of trouble. Especially when the matter heated and you are under the scanner – anything wrong you say or any wrong move you make could go against you and your Brand. If you are your company's own spokesperson, ask for a neutral view from a friend you trust or a colleague from the industry who may guide you. In fact, you could just shut yourself completely for a day or two until the matter has subsided before you can explain your side of the story.
- Under no circumstance should the Brand resort to negative remarks or demeaning comments
While passionately defending something we believe in, how many times have we exaggerated facts? Never mind! But you cannot afford to do that with a company. Apart from a possible legal issue, the least you want at this time is get flak from competitors for resorting to false claims. Weigh your facts, have solid evidence of your data, and simply put your point without accusing anyone.
Your brand's social behavior could say a lot about your business ethics, and is one of the most critical ways of creating a positive image about your approach towards your customers. Be responsible. If you have hired a professional Internet Marketing Partner to work on your Brand, ensure you both participate in chalking out the goals.
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