The last couple of years has seen almost all major brands embracing social media as part of their marketing mandate.
While most companies have taken in social media as part of their PR or marketing functions, some have identified it as a unique element in their brand profile paying maximum attention to its creative and technical nuances that play to the spontaneity of its audience.
One of the key challenges faced by brands when communicating with people on a real time social medium is not knowing how to respond when things go against plans. When communicating on a live platform shared by millions of people at the same time, brands need to know how to proactively control damage and that is the fundamental function of reputation management in social media.
Naturally, as brands begin to interact with people more openly and frequently (as they should), people will also start talking about the brand. And what people talk about, is something that cannot be regulated but can be effectively managed with a sound mitigation strategy.
Social media reputation management involves monitoring and improving a brand’s image on media platforms through social listening, addressing content that is damaging, negative feedback resolution and effective coping mechanisms.
Its direct correlation to brand equity makes reputation management teams a crucial part of every organization. Alongside the increasing number of social media success stories on the internet, there are a more popular set of disastrous moves that have gone viral on social media. While almost 60% of the damage is caused by a poor content strategy, the magnitude of impact it generates solely depends on how it has been handled.
What kinds of social media content affect a brand’s reputation?
- Negative customer feedback/comments
This is the most common kind of content that affects a brand’s repute and to a great extent, the easiest to manage if dealt well. With most brands communicating with them at their fingertips, people’s complaints against poor service or standards have only found greater voice.
While the effects of a singular complaint is minimum and the simplest remedial measure is to acknowledge the feedback and offer genuine support, even the slightest mistake in responding can cause widespread damage.
Things become worse when the complainant is a celebrity in their own right. See the below example where Shruti Haasan vents out her frustration over a poor Jet Airways flight picking up 174 retweets and 677 favorites in less than a day.
On the other hand, positive sentiments from celebrities also add free value to your brand.
- Negative publicity
Unlike customer feedback, negative publicity mostly comes from people trying to intentionally tarnish a brand’s image by spreading false propaganda, trolls or accusations without producing legitimate details.
@flipkart_review is an example of how negative publicity can be generated against a brand.
By employing effective social listening techniques/tools, brands must identify sources of negative publicity and take them down through legal or counteractive initiatives depending on its potential scale of damage.
- Parody/Commentary/Fake accounts
The best example of a parody account that troubled a brand would be the case of @StarSportslndia that got its account name identical to the company’s official handle by just replacing the capital “I” in “India” with a small letter “L”.
Aggravated over the media company’s focus towards cricket over football, this parody account has been publishing some really damaging content in a humorous manner attracting wide followership.
While Star India can do nothing about taking down its retractors since Twitter permits parody accounts, what they can do in this case is reach out to them and probably understand the interests of its viewers thereby tuning content accordingly.
In our next post, we will discuss some of the most effective methods of tackling negative publicity while also bringing in good PR. Meanwhile, do feel free to comment about social media content that tarnishes brand repute and ways of how companies can tackle it.
This resource was published by Jeffin Thomas08 October 2015
Jeffin is the Content Marketing Manager at Webdura. He is a Hubspot certified inbound marketing professional with expertise in brand journalism, social media strategy and trashing mediocre content.