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Many will say, if asked that social media has changed the landscape of brand management forever. And when you think about it, this statement is true; few other brand management methods have had as much impact on business as social media.
Social media affords businesses with the opportunity to build their brand and gain customers more quickly, as well as having a greater and more personal impact than traditional branding methods.
But as with everything in business, there is a double-edged sword. The more quickly you can spread the positives about your business, the faster customers will come running. The same can happen if a dissatisfied customer uses social media to spread the word about their experience with your company, which can cause your customer base to dwindle.
Some might even say that social media has caused companies to remain more transparent and accountable to their customers because of the tool’s ability to be used for both positive and negative, both by company and by customer.
While social media is getting a lot of press these days and many businesses are now taking advantage of it to build their brands, there are still many more who don’t realize the impact of social media on the reputation of their companies.
And while there’ll always be one or more businesses who make successful branding with social media look effortless, it’s important to note that there are several challenges to be overcome in order to realize a successful brand management strategy using social media.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and if you run a business, you know that the same is true for relationships. Many businesses are of the opinion that each move they make with social media will net them some quick revenue. But the landscape is completely different with social media. Instead of forever trying to sell their product to a market that’s more or less faceless, social media demands that companies reach out to their customers by talking and listening to them. The result is a long-lasting business relationship that will bring long-term revenue.
For those businesses that already have a recognizable brand, the fact that they have more customers than they do employees can present a challenge when trying to integrate social media into their brand management strategy. A large number of people talking about a company means that there are many conversations going on, far more than a company is physically able to participate in. If this is the case, then more thought is needed to discover which conversations and branding moves will benefit both the company and the customer most. And to facilitate the growth of an online community that’s eager to hear what you have to say, keeping it down to one or two sites that can be attended to every day is a good idea.
An actor in a movie once said “They were so busy thinking about whether they could, that they never stopped to think if they should.” This can certainly be applied to social media and brand management. Just because Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and a hundred other social media tools are available for businesses to use, doesn’t mean that they are the best route for every business to take. Finding the tools that will work best for not only your business’s needs, but the work style of your team and the requirements of data backup, tracking and analytics will take time, but can mean saved time, money and frustration in the long run.
Adding social media to a brand management strategy may not simply be a matter of fitting it in between current marketing processes. In order to facilitate long-term success with social media brand management, it may also be necessary to take a look at the complete marketing and branding process to ensure that it contains the hierarchy and work flow to accommodate it.
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