Social networks have become the perfect way to reach direct distribution to consumers. Today, the presence of brands in social networks is growing, and they are paying huge amounts of money in reputation management on such platforms. There are several reasons why brands are firmly committed to strengthening its presence in social networks. This presence has become almost a necessity, but why? Why do companies prefer social networks over other traditional media? Well, in first place, because users usually spend more time in social networks than listening to radio, reading newspapers/magazines or watching the news on TV. In second place, because they trust more on what they see in social networks (especially if the content is shared by their own contacts/friends), even if the shared links, pictures or videos are taken from traditional media websites. Actually, around an eighty-five percent of social network users consider influential the content they find on these platforms. You may get to such conclusion after analyzing enough the purchase options of consumers. When users see “likes” of their friends on Facebook, it calls their attention. If a company Facebook page have likes of their friends, there are more chances that users purchase what that company is offering online (seventy-one percent of possibilities, specifically). It is a completely revolutionary form of advertising, at low cost.
Managing and building the reputation of a brand is a hard work that requires undoubtedly special attention and constant activities. It is not a service provided once for ORM companies like Reputation Defender. Just like advertising and marketing in general, online reputation should be considered one more fixed expense (and one of the most important in a hyper-digital age like the one we live in). This work is not new. Nobody is inventing the wheel when it comes to managing online reputation of a company through social networks. There are thousands of tools available for brands that allow them to connect with users and consumers in order to establish more direct and personal ties. It may change the perception that they have about brands.
A proper building of online reputation on social networks is generally made through (1) gathering and analyzing all the possible amount of information related to their brands, promotions, products or services, and (2) by keeping track constantly and intervening directly with users about their comments: positive and especially negative. It is extremely important to ask users about their bad experiences and to study their feedback when they like your products and services.
When social networks are not used for directly selling products and services, they can work very well for modifying the opinion of users about your products, services and reputation. In fact, sales are not strongly related to the presence of companies in social networks. They are more effective for determining the way consumers perceive the company, and it does increase the possibility that the consumer will buy that brand later. The best use of social networks is not selling (there are other marketing methods for achieving that goal, even though it is possible to sell in such platforms). The great value of social networks is, on one hand, the access to a tremendous stream of information: what users consume, what they no longer want, the reasons behind their purchase options… and, obviously, what they think of a particular brand. In second hand, brands may increase the amount of followers in fan pages and every day they can provide information to users about their new products and services, about the history of the company, about social campaigns, about prices and funny memes that make users laugh and remember their brand. Also, there are groups on Facebook about restaurants, hotels, products or services to recommend or not recommend it to other users; and there you can find testimonials from users, who try to alert others about what has happened to them.
Building a reputation is a task that takes years. Today, it may be destroyed in a matter of days, and sometimes minutes through social networks. If your brand already has a bad reputation in social networks, it is necessary to develop an action procedure to manage the online crisis. It’s not the end of the world, and of course there are strategies that work very well and are being used permanently. What is a problem is when a company does not pay attention to his bad reputation on social networks and does nothing to remedy it. This can bring a negative impact on sales and can gradually lead to bankruptcy to any business, however large. Just remember the impact it has had bad publicity in companies like Coca-Cola or McDonald’s.
In future posts, this issue will be discussed further: How to improve your online reputation in social networks.