Honesty and Integrity – The Best Policy in Social Media

"How can you squander even one more day not taking advantage of the greatest shifts of our generation? – Seth Godin, sethgodin.com on social media marketing.

It's true that social media has empowered every business to make a mark. Simultaneously, it has also made consumers the boss. They have access to you and everything about you, and there is no way you can hide from them. They demand answers and you ignore it at the risk of losing your brand's credibility and trust. The power of social mediums is very much a reality, but how do you wield the weapon effectively? It is no less than about taking the bull by its horns!

Brand image is no longer in the hands of brand managers within an organization. These days, social platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, which mould public opinion and perception, shape the corporate identity. Brand management is now all about building relationships directly with your consumers, who like to hang out at these social platforms. This new medium has posed a challenge to the brands as they feel a loss of control. Given the vastness of the platform, it is important for brands to understand the medium, and develop a relationship with it, rather than trying to dominate it. Believe me, trying to dominate is a futile effort. Following the mantra of transparency, honesty, and integrity can get you to live in peaceful coexistence with social media, and also get you the brand image you always coveted.

Here are few practices brands can follow to find a foothold in their markets in spite of their chaotic mess:

Transparency will take you a long way

To manage your brand's reputation, it is critical to be transparent. Your reputation can go for a toss overnight if you are not careful. There are numerous instances of social media reputation management gone wrong. One wrong tweet can land you in trouble, and it may require a mammoth public relations effort to gain back the lost reputation. And sometimes, you may not even be able to. Protect your brand image. Do it aggressively. Develop a comprehensive reputation management system that allows tracking and gauging of your brand's performance. A brand is basically a promise to the consumer. Make efforts to see to it that you deliver what you promise. Consumers want transparency and fulfillment of promises made by brands.

Do not shy away from accountability

You can not afford to upset your customers as news about it will spread like wildfire on social media platforms. You have to account for your actions. There is no escaping it. But fearing this you can not afford to keep away from social media also, as you will be left far behind in the marketing race. Never get complacent, remember that you are under public scrutiny all the time. Stand up for brand value.

Develop a personality people can connect with

People usually connect easily with a 'personality'. Let your consumers know you, what you have to offer, what you stand for, your philosophy etc. Create a brand image. A strong brand is like a magnet, it draws people.

Trust is the key

Make sure you walk your talk. Consumers can easily find out on social media about your commitment to your promises. It is hard to earn consumer trust. Be careful about not jeopardizing it. Transparency, accountability, personality, and integrity can help build a trustworthy brand.

Stay ahead with a rock-solid plan

"Social media takes time and careful, strategic thought. It does not happen by accident."

The best way to enhance your brand's reputation is to have a plan. Get engaging content. Identify your most important social platforms. Listen to and engage with consumers, and know how to deliver on your promises. Manage your brand's identity wisely. Build a relationship with your customers. All these well-planned efforts will encourage brand loyalty and drive more traffic to your website.
How people perceive your brand and how well you manage its reputation are the keys to standing out amongst industry competitors.

 
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