Your brand is your most important asset in business. It is your identity. In today’s digital world, it is vital to protect that brand online. And today, that means that using social networking sites like Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram are no longer optional. Using these sites not only allows your company to control the message, but having a presence on those platforms ensures that nobody else is using your company name and likeness to purport to be you. Social media used to be a luxury. Something that companies could do if they had the time and resources to devote to it. But in 2018, it’s now necessary. Below are three strategies for using social media effectively and protecting your brand:
1) Have a Social Media Policy
Several digital marketing experts within MHEDA contributed to an article called The Digital Evolution. In it, they discuss several common pitfalls and mistakes that companies make with regard to their digital strategy. With regards to a social media policy for your own company, it must go beyond your marketing employees or employees who are officially tweeting on behalf of your company. It’s important to have a company-wide social media policy that formally lays out some ground rules for what your employees can and can’t post. There are several good templates online that show great examples of social media policies that your company can use as a base. This is an integral step your company can take to protect your company’s reputation online.
2) Own Your Own Name
As alluded to above, even if you don’t intend to post right away, it’s important to “own your own domain” online. When the Internet came about, there was a big push to make sure you owned your own website domain. If you don’t own it, somebody else can, and then you lose control of your own messaging. For example, the Boston Red Sox play their spring training games at jetBlue Park in Fort Myers, Florida. However, after the park was built, they failed to secure the rights to jetbluepark.com. So now, if you go to that site, you see a picture of a crying Red Sox fan and a computer showing the Yankee logo. Pretty harmless stuff, but now imagine if somebody bought your naming rights and wanted to use it maliciously? And social media is free. There is no purchasing involved. Go online and make sure that you own the user name for all of your brands across the social media spectrum. It will save you headaches down the road.
3) Monitor Social Activity
The social media policy is a great first step to guide social media activity. But it’s not a cure all. To ensure that everybody within the company is abiding by the policy, and to make sure that your name isn’t being tarnished by posts from outside the company, actively monitor social media activity. Social media tools like Hootsuite are a great way to set up search columns with your company’s name, any product names, and different lists of accounts to follow, so anytime somebody mentions you on social media, you’ll be able to see it in real time and respond quickly.
These are just three common-sense tips to help you protect your brand online.