The Growing Social Spotlight
As of January, there were over 2.3 Billion active Social Media users across the globe and this number is only set to increase. These incredible numbers provide us with almost limitless opportunities but also come with an inherent risk.
Social Media, when used correctly, can open doors you never even knew existed, bringing you closer to customers, your target audience and other service providers who may otherwise have been unreachable.
As a successful organization, you may find yourself in the Social Media spotlight more than others. One offensive post or comment can tarnish your reputation forever, ultimately costing you to miss out on otherwise lucrative opportunities. As a company, it is important that you stay educated when it comes to the proper use of Social Media.
Nearly 90% of North Americans are using at least one social media platform, while nearly 92% of North Americans are online on a daily basis. The reality is that the large majority of people today are exposing a big portion of their lives online, re-living their every move on social media for the world to see.
While social media can be used to help build a strong brand and develop a good reputation, when used incorrectly it can also destroy that reputation and cause brands to come crashing down.
An Inherent Risk
Social Media is highly visible and that’s why many customers, target audiences, and competitors do social media background screening. Something as simple as an offensive social media nickname or distasteful Tweet can cause a company's good reputation to evaporate into thin air.
It is common knowledge that Twitter Handles, Facebook videos and Instagram pictures alike have cost organizations strong positions in their respective markets. Some may feel that this is unfair, but there is validity to checking into what type of brand is representing the service or product a customer chooses to purchase.
Customers, competitors and other interested parties often follow not only your new products lines, services or R&D progress but also your online persona in order to get a better idea of your and character and values.
Despite the fact that the majority of companies have already been using social media for years it seems that many may not understand the severity of potential repercussions due to online gaffes.
Every inappropriate photo, unsuitable video, immature comment and forgettable moment can be made permanent, floating in cyberspace for its eternity.
As your company rises the ranks in your respective market it will receive heightened scrutiny, raised awareness and intensified examination of your brand's character and values.
A common misconception is that by deleting a post or editing ones social media settings that it becomes temporary, or private. Social media is permanent and public.
All it takes is one person to screenshot a post or re-tweet a comment and it can easily reach thousands of other social media users. Once something has gone viral, it is nearly impossible to delete all traces of it.
As your company builds its brand, fan base and popularity you must keep in mind that you are also growing your exposure. A reputation takes year and years and years to build, and it takes one press of a button to ruin.
Building Your Brand
While social media does have some possible drawbacks you can also use it to build your brand, control your message, engage with customers and communicate with your target audience and the public in general.
The rewards of building a strong social media brand far outweigh the risks, however, your brand needs to be built with thoughtfulness and care.
Social media platforms provide companies and organizations with a means to communicate with current and prospective customers. It provides companies everything necessary to build a brand and it provides its audience with what can feel like a personal relationship, helping to build a strong customer relationship.
There is no better way to reach the general population than with social media.
Maintain A Strong Social Presence
In today’s world, avoiding social media can put companies at risk of losing what could otherwise be very profitable opportunities. Don’t be afraid to maintain a strong social media presence, just remember to treat each post as if it were being made in front of the media at a press conference.
There are many Social Media Seminars both online and locally helping to provide concrete guidelines for your use of Social Media, and EQ Media Lab recommends watching, attending, or finding other means to educate yourself as best as you can on how to use Social Media to your advantage.
In the meantime, here are a few pointers from us to you:
Remember that anything you post on Social Media becomes public. Many account holders believe that they can simply delete a post or a profile in order to remove unwanted information, however, it is important to keep in mind that content shared on the internet can last forever.
Screenshots, right-click saving and various other means of saving your information can result in sharing and re-sharing of anything and everything you put online.
As a company, remember that your posts, pictures, and status updates may end up being viewed by thousands, even if you think it has been deleted, or only shared with a small group.
Social Media is a public endeavor, and nothing you post can truly be private.
Sharing, Retweeting and Reposting
Before you choose to Share, Retweet or Repost something ensure that you would post the original yourself, as by sharing it you are making it your own.
Organizations can, and have lost huge client bases simply for posting or retweeting something deemed offensive. Even if you are not the original poster you are making the post your own and sharing with the world that you believe what the poster believes.
Every post is a reflection of who you are.
Many Social Media users may never know your company personally; all they will know is what is posted online. Ensure that you are representing your brand well by conveying the right message to your customers.
Keep in mind that your Social Media posts may be seen by customers, target audiences, competitors, employees, brand ambassadors, and more.
More often than not prospective customers, current customers and competitors use Social Media to learn more about products and services.
With every post consider your Brand and what you want it to represent in the eyes of others.
Managing Social Media
As you navigate the Social Media landscape, educating yourself on the Do’s and Don’ts, it may seem like there is a long laundry list of things not to do and not many things to do.
That is not the case, it is just a matter of being sincere, using common sense and preparing yourself well ahead of time for what is to come.
Here are a few DO’s:
- Set Goals for accounts. Identify early on what it is you want to achieve with your Social Media Presence
- Support those around you, those you admire and those you aspire to be like. Take every customer, employee, and follower seriously.
- As your Social Media following grows, ensure that you thank those who have helped you to get to where you are. Saying thank you to return customers, brand ambassadors and employees for their support can go a long way and speaks worlds about the type of brand you represent.
- Don’t be scared to follow others. Follow those you admire, follow those following you and follow the things you love.Be sure to keep your brand in mind at all times. Your posts are public, so every post should be a representation of how you want to represent yourself to the public.
Although Social Media Marketing may seem simple – just set up your accounts on Facebook, Instagram, Google+ and Twitter, posts some links and customers will be lining up to give you money – it isn’t necessarily that easy.
Setting up profiles and sharing links is easy, but building your brand so you have significant influence and reach in your industry takes time, effort and dedication.
Brands like Nike, Coca-Cola, and Starbucks all have a dominant presence on social media. But they did not get to the point overnight.
So, what can you do in order for your company to achieve similar results? Follow the steps above and contact us to learn more about how you can dominate your industries’ social media landscape today.