Everyone has heard the story. Amy’s Baking Company thought that they had the marketing coup of 2013 when they were offered the chance to be featured on Kitchen Nightmares with Gordon Ramsay. However, their joyous success quickly turned into a true kitchen nightmare …much of it through the owners’ own doing. After Ramsay abandoned them on the show, the owners allegedly turned to social media to defend and justify their behavior through a series of vitriolic Facebook posts and Yelp review responses. These were followed by (what many viewed as) wishy-washy apologies and protestations that their social media sites had been hacked.
Needless to say, Amy’s Baking Company currently has a more tarnished brand than the AMC Gremlin or Zippo Fragrances.
Brand management – regardless of your target market – has taken on a whole new meaning in today’s social media age. You may think that your website is enough, but it is not. Approximately 1/3 (32%) of people find a brand’s official website through popular social media sites. Clients, employees and vendors now have the power to make-or-break your business by sharing information and posting comments on social media websites such as Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, Glassdoor, Google +, etc. To survive, your brand must manage these interactions effectively.
Here are three tips to keep in mind when creating your brand’s social media strategy:
Monitor your entire online profile
Your online profile impacts your brand and consists not only of your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages, but your website, Google Place page, Google + page as well as your accounts on various 3rd party sites – Manta, Glassdoor, Yelp. Make sure that your profile is completely filled out and that you post or update on a regular basis so that viewers have a complete and accurate picture of your business.
Leverage the vast array of metrics to gauge the success of your social media strategy. Tracking awareness (i.e. the viewing of your message) and action (i.e. doing something with your message) is of paramount importance, because it gives insight on what resonates with your audience. The ultimate response to a piece of your social media content is action. If someone sees something that resonates with them and retweets it, likes it, favorites it or shares it, then that is the ultimate indication that your brand and your message is resonating.
Respond to all “actions” publicly and pleasantly
Acknowledge any/all actions. Say “thank you” for retweets and likes. Acknowledge favorites. If you do receive a negative comment or a review, never rebut, never curse, never go on into attack mode. Do not make the same mistakes Amy’s allegedly made, or you will receive lots of publicity for all the wrong reasons. Keep your responses simple and apologize. Tell them that you appreciate their feedback, and you would like to resolve the issues. Everyone is able to see your responses, so show them that you take all feedback seriously and will immediately act on and respond to that feedback. If need be, take any/all further communication offline.
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