Managing online brand reputation is getting more and more complicated. Consumers today have unlimited access to information before making a decision. Your prospects are checking out online reviews, traditional news sources, and social media to scope you out before they contact you. As such, just one negative review, PR slip-up, or poorly-managed accident can make the difference between a customer choosing you over your competitor. In the social age, maintaining your online brand reputation is more important than ever.
The most common way unhappy customers make their voices heard is through social media. This could include Facebook, Twitter, or even Reddit. Here’s a great example of one of the biggest brand PR disasters in Reddit history: microtransactions in Star Wars Battlefront.
The best way to handle any brand reputation disaster is to engage with the customer at the source. Here’s how social media can help:
Social media is the fastest way to react and respond to mistakes
You need to respond to problems quickly. Allowing issues to build up without any response quickly leads to things getting out of control. After a certain point, the damage done to a brand’s reputation is irrevocable (see Chipotle for example). Social media listening tools allow you to track mentions, tags, images, and locations and be alerted when the important ones are triggered.
You can get highly personal with a social approach to brand reputation
1:1 interaction is something brands can do today like never before. The best part? It’s still public if you want it to be. KFC didn’t choose only 6 guys named Herb and the 5 Spice Girls to follow on Twitter because they thought it would be fun. It allowed them to personally interact with their followers AND it became a marketing hit overnight. The same charm can be useful when managing your online brand reputation. Take advantage of personalization and respond to issues quickly and your customers will be happy. All anyone wants to do is be heard, and you have the power to help them do just that.
Geofencing can give your public relations a big leg up
A lot of PR disasters happen around specific locations. This could be anything from a single restaurant in a chain, to a town in which a manufacturing facility is dumping chemicals into a water supply. Regardless, social media posts come with location data that, with the right tools, allow you to filter out the noise and look only at the data you need to see. It’s called geofencing and it can be highly powerful for brand protection & reputation management.
How to use social media to maintain a good name
There are a number of ways to take advantage of social media to manage brand health. One would be the old-fashioned way —monitor social media manually, taking a couple of hours every day to check hashtags, search locations, and respond to complaints or reviews on each network individually. Another would be to enlist a tool that shows you the whole online conversation across many networks, in one place. Leading brands are increasingly turning to a growing category of social media tools that can automate the research and discovery process, allowing them to understand and analyze the chatter about their brands. Flashpoint combines geofencing technology with blogs, news, and social media to drive advanced customer engagement online. Flashpoint gives users the ability to draw a virtual fence around any location to see what’s happening using geo-specific data provided by an extensive variety of social networks and discussion sites. Its powerful analytics, on-the-ground perspective, and instant alerts are proving to be indispensable for agencies, security teams, and the brands they represent.