Over the years, we have had many potential clients come to us in a flurry of panic over what was being said about them and/or their company online. People were bashing their service, putting down their products, plagiarizing their content and even discrediting their CEO.
All of these clients were anxious for a quick fix to a situation that had spun way out of their control. In PR this is what they would call “Damage Control”, but in the social media marketing world this is what I would call “Reactive Marketing”.
But how can a brand make sure that they are not being bad-mouthed online?
If you are not even Googling your company name or your CEO every so often – we really need to talk. Every time you do something, offline or online, there is a reaction from your audience. It can be positive, negative or indifferent. But whatever that reaction is, you need to make sure that you can find as much out about it as possible – not only to protect yourself from bad word, but to also analyze the effectiveness of your marketing strategy and messaging.
First off, if you are not on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter yet – you really need to get on the bus folks. People are already having conversations every day about you, your brand, your competitors, or related subjects. Why wouldn’t you want to see this? Wouldn’t it make you more effective if you knew exactly what your target market was thinking?
Also, if you have not claimed a Facebook Page, Twitter Account or LinkedIn Company Page for your business, you are leaving yourself open to a world of woe. For example, we had someone come to us who had a horrible situation on Facebook. They had not created a Facebook page, but a group of disgruntled ex-employees had on their behalf. They were touting it as the “official” page, but were posting only horrible, terrible, frankly shocking content about the establishment. Working directly with Facebook (which are not the quickest movers on urgent topics like this) it took us nearly two months to get the situation sorted out.
That is two months worth of reactive marketing on Facebook in order to get this silenced.
We’ve had businesses come to us saying that someone has already claimed their Twitter account name. “Who would want to use my brand name in their Twitter account”? The answer – your competition. And guess what. When they took that name, you can’t have it, effectively losing your brand name on Twitter.
The point here is that if you are not monitoring yourself online and on social media sites, you are opening yourself up for a world of hurt. I’m not saying if you are not jumping into social media marketing head-first you are going the way of the dinosaur. Social media marketing is a wonderful growing asset to any marketing department, but you need to be fully informed before jumping in. I’m saying that you need to get in there and secure the real estate before your competition does.
While it only takes a few minutes to create an account on Facebook, it can take 2 months or longer to try to reclaim your business’s identity when it is stolen. Something to think about.
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