It’s comforting to hear that in 2012, many of the nation’s largest businesses appear to be embracing social media. Corporate blogging in large companies has increased by 5% since last year. Twitter use has increased by 11% and Facebook is up by 8%. It’s a business tactic that is growing at a speedy rate and the correct management of these platforms is absolutely imperative.
When it comes to social media and your brand, there is a long list of interesting reasons on why it is so important to have and manage correctly. From another means to advertise to an extra sales platform, however there is one stand out reason on why your brand should be accessible via social media and that is to build trust.
Giving your brand the social media layer means that people can access the opinions of people who are already buying your product or using your service. People trust the opinions of others more than brand advertisements or official websites, which means that your online presence and people’s online opinions about your brand really matter.
Social media also offers a direct communication point with your customers and this is where it is so important to know how to communicate with them properly and appropriately. It’s about knowing what they expect, watching trends and tracking behaviours. Because the way people feel about your brand reflects in the way people interact with it and talk about it.
Direct communication is essential for crisis control too. If your business makes a consumer-facing mistake, and we all know it happens, a social media presence will mean you are in open firing range for backlash. But luckily, on the flipside, you can control the situation much better than anyone ever could in the past and this is a huge advantage point. People are genuinely interested to hear what a brand has to say when they have made a public slipup. So you need to be very careful and strategic when trying to avert a crisis. And in this digital age where your brand must always be ‘on’, there is no more sweeping mistakes under the rug because there will always be someone, somewhere watching.
A brilliant and recent example of a brand which advertently approached a crisis is Tesco and its horsemeat debacle. This was a high-profile incident that shook (and repulsed) consumers, damaging their trust and causing havoc in the media.
When the Food Safety Authority of Ireland contacted Tesco earlier this month and told them that they had found traces of horsemeat in what is supposed to be strictly beef burgers, Tesco creditably took charge of the situation and went public with a sincere apology. They admitted that the situation was nothing short of unacceptable and consumers could take their products “back to any of our stores at any time and get a full refund.”
It’s fair to assume that Tesco will pull through this one, having regained the respect and trust of many consumers. Of course if there was a repeat incident, they could have a whole other level of crisis on their hands.
With monitoring tools like CrisisVu around, it certainly has become easier for brands to watch and monitor a crisis. Monitoring tools allow brands to manage the data that comes in from Twitter, Facebook and other popular social media sites. You can search for specific information around your brand and gain valuable insights on which way the crisis is headed. Using these tools means you can devise a better crisis response plan, which then enables a speedy and proper response.
A surprising 60 percent of brands don’t use tools to monitor conversations around their brand, but with more monitoring tools like CrisisVu becoming readily available, it is likely that businesses will start to see the value and importance of watching and listening to their fans and followers.
The pros and cons that make social media seem scary and daunting for brands is what makes them so powerful. Remember to keep your competitors close, but keep your consumers closer.