With the integration of the internet in our everyday lives, new technologies and ways to connect with different groups within our society such as social media, it is easier than ever, to ruin your reputation… I don’t mean to be all doom and gloom but the saying goes “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.”* These days it could take 140 characters and as little as a second!
PR professionals now have to wear a myriad of ‘hats’ to protect our clients’ reputation, drive media awareness, and build brand advocacy. More then ever, your PR company is your friend!
Tools to communicate, share and stand out in the message-cluttered market are getting cheaper and yet more powerful. With so many accessible and effective channels to market, the ability to reach your audience and have them ‘hear’ your message expands. However, there are things you need to be wary of with social media and your reputation:
- Social media makes organisations, and public figures, much more accessible to the public. Customers can ask questions or complain about your service and or product in a public forum such as Twitter, Linkedin and Facebook and they expect a response within 24 hours – if you don’t deliver, they’ll bag you even more. Ignore them at your peril!
- You need to ‘socially listen’ – to your online media networks and clients. Understand how they like to be spoken to and what is the etiquette of each media channel. Listen to what they are saying about you, your company or product. How can you right the wrongs or improve your business to meet their expectations?
- Know what’s on your social networks – There have been cases where company Facebook pages have not been monitored daily – an unhappy customer or disenchanted ‘follower’ writes an inappropriate post that doesn’t get dealt with and you’ve got yourself a social media crisis!
- Always tell the truth. A little white lie may seem like the right choice in the moment but companies and individuals are more likely to get caught out for not telling the truth. Remember, your posts, tweets, in fact any indexed content stays around for a long, long time on Google!
PR and particularly social media isn’t a one-way communication medium. It is about building relationships with customers and prospects in their media channel of choice. A reputation and credibility can be built over time but lost in a moment; so tell the truth, communicate on their level and build relationships over time.
To be successful you have to stay on top of the latest innovations, understand the new social media platforms, and be willing to change with the times; but most importantly, be trustworthy. Consumers are fickle and will not stick around if you are not in the game for the right reasons!
* Warren Buffett