Can you control your online social exposure?

Managing your Brand was 10 years ago rather – compared to these days – easy. It was the marketing manager who was in control. He or she defined the campaigns, according to the brand guidelines, targeted the audience, created the content and pushed the message. Radio, television, news paper, magazines and a bit online.

Today is oh so different. You’re hot or not in one day. If your brand is the trending topic, you hope it’s a positive one. It strengthens your brand somewhat. But if you’re on the other side, it weakens your brand instantly and fierce fully.

Marketing and communication managers I talk to often ask me how to integrate all channels and coordinate brand consistency. Most of them are somehow capable of controlling the conventional channels as I mentioned above. But only few are really able to actively be in control – if at all being in control is possible – over the social media channels. What you publish online, both on you website, forums and in social media, is content you create carefully. Hoping that it will have a positive effect on your brand, on your sales.

Urban Outfitters lost 17000 followersafter a poorly handled accusation of stealing designs in tweeting

that they were investigating it.

What others say online about you is something you’re probably not able to get full control over. But what you can do is to respond adequately, fast and with all efforts, to make sure damage to both your company and your grieved customer (as it is in many cases) is being minimized. has a nice top 10 of epic fails in social media, see here. Let’s get a bit deeper in the social media challenge you’re facing.
If my brand in social media can’t be controlled and managed, what can I do?

You can do a lot. And probably even more. Let’s talk about the five core principles for effective cross media brand management.

  1. Be Consistent.
    Your social media challenge might differ from the process and the content, but your brand messages must be totally in line with all other channels. Companies should not adopt a totally different image on Facebook, Twitter or any blog compared to printed media and other conventional marketing channels. Being inconsistent in your message is creates turmoil, what parents face too in raising their children if they’re not consistent. The little ones turn into big problems.
  2. Be Pro active.
    Nothing – really nothing – what is being published about your brand, is something you and your organization could not foresee. It sound very rigid, but face it. You’ve got the best quality management process in place, and yet someone is complaining about an exploding battery of a laptop on Youtube. So your quality management process in your production is not so ok afterall. You should have known it. A tech service desk employee falls asleep live on a webcam, the grieved customer publishes it on the net. Tweets all around. What was it? A poorly implemented – bring our service team live to the customer – service management process? Or is your organization making them working for 16 hours a day? Being Pro Active means that you as a marketing manager must insist on being informed pro actively on major decisions that influence the quality of your products and services, so that you can take appropriate actions. Beforehand
  3. Be a Listener.
    Your customer is your value. He’s the one paying your job. He’s the one making you and your co workers proud working for. Somehow. When things go wrong, listen to your customer. Do not start defending your organization no matter how bad the online attitude is. You never know what impact it really had on someone if a product or a service failed. Do not only try to investigate what went wrong but also: what did it do to my customer? Show others you’re listening and trying to solve the issue. Escalate to board level when things get out of hand to make sure company wide the appropriate actions are being done.
  4. Be ConsequentMost of the times we read that the company should do whatever can be done to avoid further damage to the brand. But there are circumstances that you might go for the collission, when it’s obvious that someone is severely trolling and causing damages to your company. Whatever path you choose: be consequent. From resolving the issue to public apologies or eventually sue someone and making a public statement.
  5. Stay CalmEvery statement, every message should reflect your corporate culture and guidelines. So being yourself is meant as being your organisation. Don’t be distracted by the online content, be in line with what you and your organisation want to expose to the customers and prospects. A good example can be found on the Sony Experia Blog. Consumers complain in the comments, sometimes outrageous, but the team stays calm and updates the progress on a new OS timely.

In a next post I’ll discuss the possibilities and solutions enabling you to monitor pro actively your social media status, like See pictures below. Many tools help you to see what’s going on online, where your brand is mentioned and how it is mentioned…

2 Responses to “Can you control your online social exposure?”
  1. Jan-Frederik, Great advice. Social Media interactions is a daily routine that needs focus. But once you’re engaged in these different places, you need tools to also manage your interactions. One of these tools is Engagio. I invite you to have a look for your next post, and feel free to contact me about it.

    • Thank you for your comment and invitation. Your advice was indeed my next step. Manage, interact and streamline.
      Always willing to learn and explore. My list of solutions to investigate now includes the following:
      – Engagio (thank you)
      – Sysomos
      – Brandify
      – SMMS
      – Sendible
      – Social Report
      – Radian6
      – Coosto

      To be continued. But to the max of 15.

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