Why Social Media Risk Planning is necessary for a Positive Brand Image
It is no surprise that 84% of businesses have now adopted social media to implement an online presence to communicate with customers and overall, increase their brand reach . Whether a small independent business or a large B2B company, it is more evident than ever that businesses who do not build and maintain an online social media presence will get left behind, and evidently lack competitiveness. Having a social media presence offers clear advantages for marketing and sales departments, however, with this comes the disadvantage of having increased social media risks that could potentially harm the company's brand. Therefore, it is extremely important that businesses adopt a Social Media Risk Plan to manage their reputation online and know how to mitigate potential threats.
3 Tips for effective implementation and use of Social Media Risk Planning:
1. Preemptive Planning
Implementing a Social Media Risk plan will require some preemptive planning to determine potential risks, construct a schedule to monitor brand mentions and customer conversations, while also designating interactions and responses to appropriate team members. It is also important to determine who your audience is, what messaging is appropriate and through which channels. With this preliminary planning structure, your business will determine the key players in your online brand reputation management program and be able to minimize social media risk.
2. Communicate with your employees and educate them on Social Media Risk
Determining how to implement an effective Social Media Risk plan may be difficult as your business will have to empower employees while at the same time, remain in control of the content they are sharing. Implement a training manual and regulatory process that will control social sharing activity for the first couple of months that a new employee starts at your organization. This will ensure there are no mistakes in social media sharing while also helping them understand how their personal social media sharing can affect the business as well.
3. Choose a Social Media Monitoring Tool for your brand
A social media monitoring tool helps companies understand how their brands are represented through various social media channels. Companies should also be monitoring for potential social media risks and plan for when they should take action. A good social media risk monitoring tool has the ability to:
- Strategic Searches - websites, blogs, forums, news, social media sites and bulletin boards for opportunities to determine opportunities to engage in positive discussion
- Identify the risk - finds information that could have a negative impact on your brand including defamatory comments, rumors or inaccuracies
- Filter - using industry-specific search parameters, determine the significance and relevance of emotionally charged sentiments being expressed
- Prioritize - based on the sentiment expressed and authority of the source
If you aren't monitoring for social media risks or are limited by free tools without comprehensive analysis capabilities, it would be wise to develop a social media risk plan and perhaps invest in a solution that goes beyond managing data quantity. Protecting your Social Media presence and uncovering opportunities for meaningful consumer conversations requires monitoring data quality - prioritizing what's meaningful, relevant and emotionally charged, to mitigate negative threats to your company or highlight positive feedback.
And if a crisis occurs?
If your business runs into a situation where a negative online interaction occurs or customers respond negatively to a business decision/message that is potentially brand-threatening, let all relevant members of your team know to collaboratively determine the best approach to mitigate the situation. The most common reaction to rectify a brand threat is to recall the message and/or publically apologize. You want to be sincere in your response, however, consider the option of standing by your message (if it makes sense), and provide further explanation as to why you feel your message or reaction was appropriate. Here is a great example of a company, Honey Maid, who stood by a message they truly believed in that caused negative feedback from vocal followers. As a result, they were able to attract even more attention than the first campaign through reasoning with the audience why they felt their approach was just.
Do you currently have a functioning Social Media Risk Plan and what kinds of potential brand threats have you experienced as it pertains to Social Media? Leave your comments below.