Social media is word-of-mouth on a giant scale and is recognised as one of the most influential of all marketing channels today. Despite this, many businesses don’t engage in social media.

When surveyed, the main reasons given were;

  • Lack of understanding of how it all works
  • Difficulty in establishing return on investment; and,
  • Fear of something going wrong.

Social media is not going away. Avoiding it is not a strategy. Brands can be negatively impacted by social media whether or not they choose to participate in it. If your company does choose to have a presence on social media though, it increases the ways you can monitor and influence the impression of your brand; plus you’re in a better position to curb any impending disaster before it takes hold.

Preparation is next. As those experts in survival – the Scouts – say; Be prepared.

Social media survival kit

  • Policy

You can include social media in yourorganisation’s policies, or create a social media specific policy. You may like to try this tool for developing a social media policy.

Make sure every employee is on the same page in terms of what’s expected and what’s required. Employees can be enthusiastic supporters of a brand if treated with respect and the boundaries are clear. Don’t overstep the mark – like one Australian bank has reportedly done recently – and make it compulsory for employees to report any negative sentiment a friend, family member or contact may air online about the institution.

  • Monitoring

The afore mentioned bank is simply being lazy when there are so many social media monitoring tools available which allow you to keep track of what is being said about your brand on different media channels – good, bad and neutral. This review of social media monitoring tools includes 54 of the most well- known free software and apps available for this purpose.

  • Moderating

Join in the conversation. Most problems can be pipped at the post if an opinion is quickly acknowledged and a solution is developed. Developing a social media triage chart will help you decide how to deal with different conversations as they arise.

Comments – even when negative can provide valuable feedback (the exception to this would be spam or trolling). They can even present new marketing opportunities.

Success: The Bodyform example

Did you hear about Richard Neill’s tongue-in-cheek rant on the Facebook page of British feminine hygiene product manufacturer Bodyform last month? Here’s the post below, if you haven’t read it;

As you can see, almost one hundred thousand Facebook users saw and liked this post. Bodyform realised they had landed themselves an audience, and went on to create this video response to the Richard Neill’s post. With well over 3 million views so far, it has been a great example of how a challenge on social media can be converted into substantial positive publicity.

Bodyform have gone on to rebrand their Facebook page as they continue to enjoy their popular new marketing angle.

In future ‘Series’ articles we will delve further into the nuts and bolts of using social media for business. If you can’t wait; feel free to give us a call or send us an email.