Social Media friendsMarketers of a brand can gain a slew of benefits when they create channels for interaction and engagement with their target audience via social media. Many brands know how to do it right and the ones that are the most successful in the social media networking sphere are those who exhibit passion on what special products they have to offer. They utilize the power of bringing together friends, family and those in all their circles to become their brand ambassadors. These ambassadors, external to the company itself do the most for brands in Social Media.

Like with much else in the online world, the benefits that Social Media brings brands also carries risks. Digital assets are often times set up by non-brand actors, which are unmonitored and can accumulate libelous messages against the brand, with no one to defend it. Brand marketers are confronted with quite a few serious challenges when shifting their marketing to the online world. The web’s anonymity coupled with the super quick reach of Social Media makes Risks Aheadmarketing in this fashion much more difficult to regulate and monitor. If an attack on a brand is not dealt with in a timely manner, it doesn’t matter if your brand is a giant or a mom and pop shop, you’ll be bleeding customers faster than they are coming on. This has caused some pretty serious damage to brands as far as reputation. As you can see, you need to be implementing brand protection of some sort to keep tabs on it all.

The way that brands are engaging with their target audiences is changing drastically via the use of social media.

One of the biggest challenges that brands face when using social media, is that it is pretty much a free-for-all with people posting anything. If not monitored in a timely fashion, a brand can suffer. Below, I’ve included some ways that brands can get a handle on their Social Media marketing efforts

Devising a Policy
Most large, successful brands have devised and have implemented a policy with regards to social media, while many of the less known brands are still taking their time. This is a huge mistake. Even many of the larger brands do not have a policy in place. How should employees behave on their own channels as well as on those owned by the business is a guideline in itself. Here is a great post from beverage giant, Coco-Cola just to give you an idea. Guidelines on how to act extend past Facebook and Twitter. Staff needs to be trained on how to comment on blogs and YouTube videos as well.

Monitoring your Brand
Brands are everywhere. Everywhere you look is a logo, insignia, a trademark. With all these brands there are also a mass of people seeking to cause damage to those brands. By monitoring the web for pages that exist and have been set up with no official authorization, you will be doing yourself just a small part of what brand protection entails. Just this piece alone could be much more than a full time job, while cyber thieves, counterfeiters, domain squatters and the like cause damage to your brand, both financially and reputation wise.

Be on Top of Customer Complaints
Many brands utilize social media when dealing with customer inquiries and complaints. They need to be very careful in not getting into arguments where everyone can see a heated discussion, copy and paste it, have it tweeted and instantaneously it becomes news. And not good news either. Deleting comments by users in a bid to try and silence them is not recommended. Taking a conversation offline with a phone call is usually the best policy.

Above I have gone over some of the benefits and dangers of marketing brands online, especially with regards to social media.

What policies have you implemented for your brand? What has worked? What hasn’t? Any horror stories you’d like to share? Any positive experiences? Please feel free to comment below and share this post.