As a strategic integrated marketing agency, we often work with our clients to develop social media programs to mesh with their overall long-term marketing plans. From our point of view, there are four important aspects involved with creating and running a successful social media program: WHO, WHAT, WHY and HOW. My previous two posts covered the WHO (the resources required) and the WHAT (the tasks surrounding social networking). This post covers the WHY, and it will touch on the behavior of a brand in the social media space.

Many companies are afraid of social media because they can’t control what is said about their brands. But let’s face it–things are being said online about your brand whether you are there to witness them or not. It’s much better to see first-hand how your brand is being discussed rather than sit back and hope it’s all good. With that in mind, here are five warnings we give our clients as they delve into social media:

  1. Regularly monitoring online chatter about your brand is imperative; the good news is there are some simple ways to do this
  2. Reporting and analysis for social media can’t be ignored, but you can set up a process for this fairly easily and affordably
  3. Negative comments will be made about your brand; the key lies in knowing about them and handling them appropriately 
  4. A crisis communications / crisis management plan is more important than ever in today’s world
  5. Positive comments will also be made about your brand; don’t forget to say, “Thank you.”

These are the most important aspects of WHY you need to manage your brand’s social media efforts. The underlying principle of integrated brand marketing is that behavior which a brand exhibits online should seamlessly complement what it does offline. Social media, like any other form of media, can be thought of as an extension of your brand, so establishing the appropriate protocols should come somewhat naturally to you. These are just simple reminders on what some of the most important actions are.

You can read more about the WHO here, the WHAT here, and check back soon for one last post on the HOW cautionary statements regarding social marketing.

Author: Emily Griebel, an Integration Architect at McKee Wallwork Cleveland. Emily leads our Integration Architecture practice and is responsible for ensuring our clients’ marketing plans are seamlessly interwoven. If you’re interested in an audit of your marketing plan, you can reach her at [email protected], or @MWCemily on Twitter.