The rise of blogging, social media, and dynamic reporting changed everything. It changed the way we view the world, the way people access information, and perhaps most importantly, the methods by which anonymous information can enter the public eye. It’s a global victory for transparency – a development that would never have been possible without global participation.
But it’s also enabled a great deal of anonymous feedback – often critical feedback – to seep into the public arena. Journalism was once a rather slow one-way process, and while it resulted in much less immediate access than it does today, it came with fewer thoughtless comments and needless thought than today’s news does. The web, for lack of a scientific description, has become a haven for critics and others with any kind of interest in destroying brands.
A very good example is the global gas and oil company BP. Given the online controversy surrounding its recent environmental disaster, it’s no wonder that the company is investing some serious time into social media marketing. A false company Twitter page, named ‘BPGlobalPR’ for maximum irony, was created by fans within weeks of the disaster, giving a very clear look into the negative value of social media as a branding tool.
BP’s public relations breakdown is the obvious example, although there are thousands out there to choose from. Domino’s Pizza experienced a similar meltdown, after a video of employees tampering with food made its way onto the internet. Food giant Subway has been forced to repair their image online, after secret footage of a rat infested store made its way onto YouTube.
There are thousands of people out there that believe everything they read on the Internet, and those that are truly skeptical of everything they read and see. However, with the added use of updated phone features including photo and video options, it’s hard to keep anything under wraps or respond to a problem before it has the opportunity to go viral.
Thousands of marketers have highlighted the importance of social media for brand building. Even more marketers have discussed its ability to help an established brand grow. What very few people are talking about – and what’s most important – is social media’s opposite power. Without any care and attention, it’s just as easy for social media to ruin your brand as it is for it to help it grow.
The best way to stay positive and keep your brand growing is to have a transparent platform on social media that allows prospects and clients to connect and ask questions about your products and services. Be sure and have someone searching social media platforms for your company name or basic products to see where else it may be showing up on social media and what is being said.
Try forming groups that can allow people to connect with other like-minded people who have the same interest in your product or service as the others in the group have. Be sure to have someone focused on maintaining the platforms and responding in a timely manner. Be especially responsive to any negative comments or situations that could ruin your reputation and brand.