Social media marketing is one of the cornerstones of online brand building. It doesn't matter if you run a blog, own an eCommerce store, or manage a brick and mortar business. If you value your brand's online identity and authority, then building a social media presence is a worthwhile endeavor.
But before you get too carried away, remember that social media marketing can be dangerous for smaller brands. If you're not careful, you could be vulnerable to "fails" and aggressive competitors who aren't afraid to play dirty.
So without further ado, below are four brand protection strategies to remember before you go on the offensive:
1. Develop a Social Media Policy
While your core social media activities are likely to be handled by a team, other employees need to also be mindful of what they share and post. Writing a social media policy will prevent them from posting anything that may endanger your company's security and reputation.
Below are the things that need coverage in your social media policy:
- Legal Risks - Make sure your social media team acknowledges usage rights for posting materials, disclosure procedures, employee disclaimers, and so on
- Roles - Write guidelines for specific roles, such as branding manager, customer support, content editor, etc.
- Brand Vision - A good strategy is to create a vision statement that describes who you're catering to, what they need to know and which content type/s they prefer. This will help your social media team to determine what can and can't be posted
- Brand Voice - To make your brand more recognizable, each post should be written using the same brand voice and tone
- Privacy - Lastly, confidentiality is an important practice that must be observed by both your social media team and employees. Start by creating a list of information that should never be disclosed to the public under any circumstances
When writing your social media policy, it's a good idea to seek the input of everyone in your company - whether or not they are part of your official social media team. This will help you build a close company culture and reduce the possibility of unengaged employees who may compromise your branding efforts.
2. Secure Control of Your Brand Name
Most social media marketers prioritize popular networks like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn for brand building. And while focusing on these platforms will definitely bring results, you should also seek control of your brand name on other networks, where possible.
This will prevent other entities, including competitors, from using your brand name and jeopardizing your online reputation. It can also help boost the much-needed social signals to your site, which can be beneficial for SEO.
To check for your brand name's presence in other social networks, you can use a name search tool like KnowEm. KnowEm enables you to quickly scan over 500 networks for any name associated with your brand -- covering sites under categories such as business directories, blogging, and community.
3. Keep Passwords Safe
A lot of social media marketing teams are comfortable with using a spreadsheet that keeps all their passwords. One-man marketers, on the other hand, make do with the password-saving features of browsers.
Unfortunately, none of these methods implement a security measure that protects social media accounts.
That's why you should consider using password managers like LastPass, which can be used to securely share login credentials. The enterprise version allows for streamlined sharing between multiple users, but the free version can still be used to fulfil the same purpose. Your team then only needs to be aware of the master password, as well as any multi-factor authentication methods you have in place.
4. Monitor for Social Media Mentions
How do you stop rumors from spreading false information about your brand? One word: quickly.
In social media, controversial information can spread like wildfire, regardless of whether it's true or not. And while there's no surefire way to prevent competitors from spreading false information, you can mitigate the damage by being proactive.
A social media listening tool like Brand24 works by alerting you whenever your brand or product name gets mentioned in social media networks. It also equips you with the tools needed to jump in the conversation, enabling you to clarify any misinformation or reach potential leads who've shown strong interest in your brand.
In addition, you can also use listening tools to identify trending topics in your niche - this will help you come up with effective content creation and curation ideas in the future.
How Protected Are You?
Although authority takes a long time to build, it can collapse like a house of cards with a single mistake. Hopefully, the strategies above can help protect your brand from flops, or dirty tactics in your competitors' sleeves.
Once you have the essential protective measures in place, you can safely dig into marketing tactics that will grow your brand in the social space.