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Social Media for companies – Negating the side-effects

September 22, 2011 Leave a comment

Have you ever been to open house which says get approval on your questions and comments before speaking out it in open? Sounds weird? Well, is this a mindset you are carrying to your social media strategy?

Social Media is slowly but surely coming to an age where it is more of a strategic component than just “Riding a Trend”. It is a medium that exposes your brand / company to open crowd which can give any company an advantage to reach out larger audience. However it does bring in a risk component with itself as it can attract negative comments / sentiments of their employees as well as customers. This may be fear of company management which restricts the open use of social media.

As they say – everything has its pros and cons. Here’s what best you can do to maintain and enhance your brand on social media while curbing an “evil” effect.

Involve Your Employees – Best Brand Ambassadors.

While you look outside to market yourselves and brand your company name, you may tend to forget that your employees are the best brand ambassadors of your company. It is a great idea to involve them actively on your social networks to tell their experiences / views about your company / brand. People would rather listen to human stories than standard marketing brochures. Yes, you may attract some negative sentiments from “never-to-be-satisfied souls”; however, there are more chances that you attract positive vibes if you involve larger audience.

Community Moderation

In current social media channels, you get do get admin rights where-in you can actively moderate your groups, comments, postings etc; however use this right diligently. It is not advisable to delete OR react strongly to every negative / non-sense comments. Remember, it is an open platform – a democracy J. Let people have their own say and you can counter them with the positivity which can showcase your brand value. If your community members start thinking that you are deleting negative comments, they will definitely shy away from your group. You can always re-direct those negative comments subtly. Your brand also carries your company’s characters and values.

Be open for Improvements and Suggestions

Social media is a two way conversation and needs to have “ears”. You would always want your followers / group members to listen great things you have to say. Never close the communications gates though. You would also carefully need to listen what your followers have to say. Sometimes, they may have a complaint, a suggestion, a crappy experience about your service / product etc. Please make sure you route their views to appropriate department and consider them valuable. Do not forget to thank them for their valuable suggestion. Give them an honorary feeling which they will associate with your brand.

Be careful on what you say

We have seen enough examples of big goof-ups on some Fortune 500 company’s social media communities where one word OR sentence can destroy your brand image. Do not get intimidated or carried away by comments of other people. Respond such comments with proper business etiquettes and sentiments. Please do not take them personally. Remember, it is not you (as a person) commenting on them but you are representing an entire company.

“Feel Good” Factor

The community should always carry a “Feel Good” factor about company, people, clients and their services on social media. There should be a consistent effort for company to engage your audience into new developments, updates, news etc on your company. Also, try to run various contests and quizzes (even if without any rewards) on your page and give credits to the winners. It always creates an attachment of the person to the brand and helps to neutralize any negative feelings.

Social media as a channel needs openness and transparency from employer’s point of view to bring long term effective results. You just cannot expect goodness if you are not prepared for the risks. It does expose an opportunity to attract some rough comments but it also provides to clear an air publically to help brand-building. Moreover, this cannot be a reason to not to open to use this excellent channel for people engagement and brand-building.

Categories: Social Media Tags: ,
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