Creating and managing a brand is a fascinating process. A brand is not really a ‘thing’ in the conventional sense. This is an abstract concept that really is a collection of principles, values, images and products; but together this branding manages to completely define your business and the way you’re seen by the general public and your potential audience.
Boosting your brand is a very worthwhile and useful process then but the fluid nature of branding makes it difficult. Good job then that you have social media to act as a scalpel in crafting the perfect image for your business!
Let’s look at some of the ways you can use social media to create the image you want for your business and to improve your reputation.
Reputation management is a form of digital marketing that focusses on the process of improving your brand’s image specifically. The idea here is to tightly control any and all information about your company so that you can ensure it is seen in the best light possible.
One way to do this is by looking at the way that others are already describing you on social media and on review sites. For instance, if you have a local business then you’ll probably have a presence on Yelp and TripAdvisor. These are examples of ‘social commerce’ sites which utilize reviews from customers and clients in informing customer behavior. Likewise, you can also accrue reviews on Facebook, Google+ and many other platforms around the web.
Reputation management then involves managing these reviews to ensure that they’re positive. That doesn’t mean playing dirty – it simply means encouraging satisfied customers to leave reviews, promoting the more positive reviews so they’re easier to find and responding to negative reviews to explain yourself. It also means promoting your own website and social media platforms where you will have the option to tailor your message.
This is what’s really so powerful about a digital marketing agency with help of social media when it comes to portraying your brand online: it gives you the ability to put forward the precise message that you want to and to show your company in a positive light.
This means that you can communicate directly with your customers and fans – you can ask them what they want to see and you can tell them that you’re working on particular projects. At the same time, if there’s a story in the news about your business, then you can respond to it and put forward your point of view.
Dealing With Bad Press
If you are getting bad press, then social media gives you a chance to respond. What’s key here is to make sure you respond correctly. If there has been a factual error or mistake, then you can correct this with the facts in an objective manner.
Otherwise, if the bad press is deserved, make sure that you are humble about it and communicate that you will make a concerted effort to ‘do better’. Own up to your mistakes, apologize and poke fun at yourself as a business where appropriate. Don’t make excuses or act aggressively – in the long run this only adds fuel to the fire.
Controlling Your Message
You also get to control your message in other ways through social media. For instance, your description should explain what it is that your company does, why you’re good at it and what your values are.
You also ‘communicate’ in other more subtle ways through your social media channels. The brand image that you put forward for instance will communicate a lot about your company. What does the company name suggest about your business? Does the logo look like the logo of a ‘fun’ company? Of a professional and trustworthy one?
Boosting Your Reputation
All this helps you to control your image online and gives you a direct line with your customers, clients and fans.
But sometimes you need more than that. Sometimes you need to do something to ‘boost’ your reputation and to fix the way you’re seen in the public eye.
One good way to do this is with some kind of event, statement or product. Doing things with charities often works well here for instance – why not launch a promotion and team up with a worthy cause? Giveaways can also help to improve your standing with followers, as can special offers and discounts.
The Personal Touch
If you want to go even further though, then consider using social media to really impress your followers and fans. How might you do this? Well for instance, how about occasionally wishing them happy birthday? Or maybe conducting AMAs (Ask Me Anything) on Reddit where you speak candidly about your plans and your business model?
In a world where large corporations and conglomerates seem completely untouchable, it’s a great asset as a small business to be able to communicate directly and personally with your audience. Don’t squander that opportunity!