5 Steps to Brand Reputation Management in 2015

The online world adds a new dimension to your business and brand – and ultimately your reputation – because the same brand can be perceived differently by different audiences. With three billion active users of the internet worldwide, it’s definitely worth thinking about adding brand reputation management to your 2015 plan.

 

The best way to manage brand reputation is to make sure you’re telling a cohesive story – and the right story. While controlling the message is no longer an option for PR professionals thanks to social media, you can still stay on top of the dialogue.  Here are 5 ways to do it:

1) Make a good first impression.

What first impression do you want your brand to portray? … Time’s up. It takes less than 50 milliseconds to form a first impression, according to a study by Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. First impressions are so important because they give way to a ‘halo effect.’ For example, if your website looks good, that assessment is transferred to its functionality.

2) Own it and embrace who you are.

Your brand is derived from a mix of who you are, who you want to be, and who people perceive you to be.  In a perfect world, your reputation follows your brand. You can help this along by making your brand present across the customer touchpoints in your business: how you answer your phones, what you or your salespeople wear and what they say, your e-mail signature, everything. Brand is every employee’s responsibility – not just PR and marketing’s. As PR you can get back to basics and ensure the whole company understands the corporate mission, vision, values and goals so you can all believe, live and breathe this.

3) Unite and conquer.

People are converging over multiple online channels. It’s important to streamline and manage your brand consistently for every online channel you use. A good place to start is to review and assess aspects of each online channel such as reach, popularity, interactions, level of engagement, effectiveness of messaging, audience demographics and whether there are any conflicts or confusion. Try not to use all online channels for the sake of it – be strategic and decide where your brand needs to be seen regularly, what messages work, and who your influencers are.

4) Respect your community.

Building a circle of influence online can have a positive impact on your brand. We all know about the power of influence, and it travels faster than ever in a socially-networked world. As every PR person knows, this message virality is a double-edged sword.  The good news is that people who follow your brand on social media most likely already like you, so it’s important to craft a strategy that speaks to fans as people. Converse with them in a timely manner, and always be professional and courteous (no matter what was said). Partake in discussions, offer a professional opinion on the topic and avoid being too ‘salesy’ – only recommend your product or service when you feel it can solve a problem or encourage the discussion to move forward. Be sure to acknowledge positive comments, and attempt to respond to complaints and issues quickly. Build and nurture your ‘brand ambassadors’ and let them spread the good word for your brand.

5) Listen and pay attention.

It’s important to keep track of conversations, interactions and positive and negative sentiment online so you can join those discussions, answer queries, dispel myths, and actually see if your strategy is effective. There are media monitoring tools that let you view and analyse perceptions and activity around your brand online and determine ROI. You can turn conversations into customers and customers into brand advocates through social media engagement. Successful engagement is often attributed to retweets, shares, reach, clicks and various other influence metrics.

The key to effective brand reputation management is to embrace it for what it is: an ongoing relationship with your community.  By making sure that this relationship is healthy, you can help your company increase brand loyalty and recognition in a competitive online landscape.

Meltwater Selected for Facebook Marketing Partners Program

I had several marketers as clients while I was living in the PR agency world, but I honestly didn’t understand what marketers did for a long time. In my five months at Meltwater, I’ve met some seriously ambitious marketers who are constantly looking for a way to make the greatest impact. They work together with a variety of partners and vendors to create mutually beneficial campaigns and programs.

It wasn’t until I got to Meltwater that I saw how advertising, webinars, direct marketing, nurturing, content, corporate communications and more could integrate to create an effective marketing organization. I’m surrounded by marketers who are learning and evolving so quickly that it’s sometimes difficult to find tools that are up to par.

I believe that our customers, too, face this challenge. This is why I’m excited to announce our acceptance into the Facebook Marketing Partners program. The partnership builds on our promise to deliver dynamic solutions that allow users to manage engagement of their online communities and measure the impact of their activities.

Of course, Meltwater isn’t going to stop here. We will continue forging partnerships that help further our customers’ ability to make the greatest impact with their marketing campaigns.

RECOMMENDED NEXT STEPS:

You’ve reached the end of Meltwater Selected for Facebook Partners Program, but this is only the beginning. If you’re wondering where to go from here, check out these recommended next steps:

4 Tips for the Overextended Marketing Generalist

Are you managing most or all of the marketing roles in your organization? Nonprofits, small business and startup marketers all have something in common: not enough time or resources. But never fear: here are 4 tips to help.

 

The Curse of the Marketing Generalist

After years of doing nonprofit marketing, I ran into a bit of a problem when I began a new job search. What, exactly, did I do? The truth was, I did everything. I was a content manager, content strategist, and the writer; I managed all of our social media, I launched and managed our blog singlehandedly, and…whatever else needed to be done.

Though I learned and accomplished a great deal as a marketing generalist, I realized that what I had amassed was a wide range of experience – spread arguably thin. Some companies have specialists, but very often in small business and nonprofit, you just don’t have that luxury. If you’re in the latter boat, here are some things to keep in mind when times get tough, so you can give the most—and get the most out—of your work.

1) Enforce your expertise.

For most of us, communications can make or break an organization. If there are too many cooks in the kitchen providing their opinion on how to spread your message, the message can become diluted, and your audience will respond to that—negatively. Position yourself as the communications expert. You’ll take their feedback, and they’ll need to trust you with not only the words, but also the strategy.

2) Hone your desired skills.

It’s important to know that, despite being the all-things-marketing go-to person, there are skills you’re better at than others – and those may or may not align with your particular interests. As the wearer of so many hats, you probably have more control than you think to develop certain professional goals. For example, I was tired of paying too much for average graphic design that was never delivered on time, so I used our PD resources to take an Illustrator class.

3) Know the results, and actually use them.

It’s too easy to click send on that e-blast that took weeks to put together and then never think about it again, so that you can get to the other million things that needed to go out yesterday. Making a point to check opens, CTRs, etc. the next day for every email will quickly teach you a lot about how your audience engages with your material. (Stay tuned for a more in-depth look at easy metrics for busy marketers, coming soon to this blog near you.)  Same goes for the results for your other programs: knowing what success looks like will make your job easier.

4) Keep yourself relevant and visible.

When a blog piece I posted received more than 200 shares in a couple of hours, I sent my team an email to let them know. Everyone else is often too busy with their own work, spread just as thin as you are, but they’re probably blissfully unaware of what kind of impact your work is (or isn’t) having. Show them—don’t rely on them to know.  By demonstrating the value you efforts are adding to the team, you don’t just become irreplaceable – you might just have enough proof points to get some additional resources.

Running all aspects of the marketing matrix means that I didn’t have a specific specialty – and because I was so busy, and so wrapped up in my work for so long, I didn’t know I needed one.  One great thing about doing everything is that you can figure out what you’re good at, and what you’re best off finding the budget to outsource (after you demonstrate how well the things you want to spend time on are doing, to justify the budget).

 

 

 

 

 

Kicking Off a Social Media Campaign in the Sports Industry?

The sports industry are pros at creating social media campaigns that further shoot athletes into stardom, encourage great changes in society and ensure sponsors are hot on their heels. We’re firm believers in giving credit where credit is due, so let’s take a look at a few top examples of sports social campaigns and the reasoning behind their tremendous successes.

Sports Social Media Campaign 1 – #RAINBOWLACES

#RainbowLaces was created with the aim of kicking homophobia out of football by encouraging players to don colourful laces on the pitch. Backed by the Football Association, Paddy Power, Stonewall and a large number of football clubs, the social media campaign is a huge success and 30% of the UK population are aware of the cause.

This social media campaign was effective as it used football player’s influential voices to raise awareness for equalities. The young generation of footy fans heard their idols preaching a message and saw this as an opportunity to connect with them personally by showing their support. The fact that the campaign promoted a positive message meant that brands also saw this as an opportunity to improve their CSR (corporate social responsibility) efforts and at the same time stay relevant by hijacking the hashtag. For example, Smirnoff used the theme in their marketing communications, only expanding the campaigns reach by spreading the message to an audience beyond the football crowd.

Arsenal players were also seen sporting the laces in a televised advert that didn’t just stay on our TV sets. The ad was humorous and had a specific call to action, encouraging the audience to engage and show their support on social by tweeting the hashtag. Subsequently, the advert was shared digitally and its message through word of mouth, emphasising how an integrated approach only helps to increase awareness and buzz around a social media campaign.

Sports Social Media Campaign 2 -#DunkinReplay

Dunkin Donuts took content marketing to a whole new level back in 2013 after they delivered the first ever advert to be created on Vine and aired on TV. With 80% of sports fans monitoring social sites during live events, the campaign, which recreates the best scenes from the first half of the game, was sure to score with the audience!

The sheer creativity of this social media campaign and the fact that Dunkin Donuts was the first to allow adverts some of the immediacy of social media is what truly propelled #DunkinReplay. DD grabbed the real time nature of the beast by its horns though its engaging, timely and news worthy content. Consequently, Dunkin Donuts were able to insert the brand into online chatter created by the 80% of fans monitoring social during the game. DD commented that each #DunkinReplay Vine delivers as many impressions as a TV ad, but at a significantly less cost. #winning. 2015 is said to be the ‘year of content marketing’, well, Dunkin Donuts set the standards a long time ago and the bar is high. Talk about being a first mover.

Sports Social Media Campaign 3 – #We shall not, we shall not be moved

Not all social media campaigns are initiated by marketing minds, some come about by the powers of social networks. This summer, England will see the Rugby World Cup grace our (no doubt waterlogged) soil, much to the delight of our rugby loving nation. However, crowds were less than pleased to hear talks of fan segregation, a tradition which sets the sport apart from others in the industry. Accordingly, fans joined forces and created a social media campaign to ensure their concerns over rugby culture were heard and thanks to social media listening tools they were successful in doing so. The International Rugby Board chief executive, Brett Gosper announced “social media reaction to suggestions of segregation enforced many of the positive aspects of attending games. It was a great bit of advertising for rugby.” Allegations were kicked into touch, demonstrating the powers social networks have in bringing about change.

What’s your favourite sports social media campaign? Let us know in the comment box below.

#MarketingMinds Chat Insights – Social Media in Crisis Communication

Last Friday, marketing and PR professionals alike gathered to discuss our #MarketingMinds chat topic of the week- using social media in crisis communication.

Q1 What are your top tips for integrating social media into a crisis communication plan?

@Finn_PR feel that preparation is key. They suggest we plan for different scenarios so if a crisis was to occur we would be in a better position to handle the situation having already drafted flexible paths to take. Moreover, social monitoring tools (such as Meltwater Buzz) can help us gage the sentiment of posts. By doing so, we are able to judge the development of a crisis, pinpoint its stage and discover which social media channel needs our attention the most. On that note, consistency across all social platforms is also mentioned as an important factor in crisis communication plans.

@PeterLingua expresses the need for keeping an eye on influencers to help us find the root of the problem. We should analyse whether the crisis has escalated as a result of an influencer or a publication and target such individuals with the message we would prefer to see them spread. @Animatedgiff agrees confirming media monitoring tools can help us greatly with this task.

@megan_j_hughes recommends having a decision tree in place to ensure efficiency and timeliness of response, both of which are crucial in crisis communication.  @simonlp approves, stating pre-determined groups of decision makers are important as opinions flying in from everywhere rarely helps when we’re in crisis mode! We must also make sure our social media team is integrated with other key internal communication functions for example, PR, Marketing and C-suite.

Above all, participants feel we must remain human and genuine in our response. As @megan_j_hughes explains, sympathy and transparency are important at all times during crisis communication. @citypress suggests using language that shows we want to engage rather than trite replies.

Q2 You receive an inflammatory social media mention. How do you manage it?

@citypress feels that we must acknowledge negative comments before they escalate, even if we don’t have the facts, acknowledge first and then get back to our audience shortly and confirm. @taramomo_ mentions that some companies have a tendency of deleting or ignoring comments. We must avoid doing this at all costs- we wouldn’t ignore someone in person so don’t do it online! We should see this as a chance to showcase our exceptional customer service skills. Moreover, deleting a comment doesn’t delete the problem; feedback should be welcomed as it gives us a chance to react to the problem rather than dropping our audience off at the front door of our competitors.

@Finn_PR  states we should know when to take the conversation offline. One tweet can rake in thousands (if not millions) of impressions, so we must dodge airing our dirty laundry online for all to see! Taking complaints offline also allows us to be more personable. Human interaction is important in crisis communication as it’s a better medium for honest human interaction.

Q3 During a crisis, how do you judge which stakeholder to address first?

@megan_j_hughes believes responding on a first come first served basis. @Animatedgiff agrees, but if numbers are not  manageable he advises we base judgement on influence. @Animatedgiff then went on to asked whether participants feel Klout score is a good judge of stakeholder importance? @KStockner is opposed to the idea, replying that Klout doesn’t measure the stakeholders’ importance or investment. @PeterLingua agrees, stating for CSR (corporate social responsibility) Klout score should be put aside, however it is good for tracking influencers. Furthermore, @Finn_PR expresses how Klout is good contributing factor but should never be used in isolation.

@citypress states if our social media feeds are managed correctly a variety of stakeholders should already be following us, thus will receive the message at the same time. In addition to this, @taramomo_ thinks it’s important for all employees to understand what’s going on during a crisis so there are no mixed messages. Email was mentioned as inappropriate in crisis communications, due to both urgency and the need for clarity. Alternatively, we could use conference calling to ensure all employees fully understand the process and the message to be sent.

Q4 What metrics and tools do you use to manage crisis communication?

@Finn_PR suggest using social media monitoring tools so we can quickly and efficiently go back to stakeholders and keep them updated. Such tools can also help us monitor the problem and its effect on the brand. @megan_j_hughes  disagrees saying it’s not all about metrics and tools – we need the process and team in place prior; although optimised monitoring will stop subjects before crisis point. It is mentioned that monitoring tools are only useful in crisis communication if they focus on language. (Meltwater Buzz gives us the option of filtering conversation by sentiment so we can pinpoint who we need to address in terms of negative comments and identify and nurture influencers who have potential to become brand advocates on social.) A message from a community member is much more likely to be trusted then coming from a brand.

Q5 What is more important in crisis communication: timeliness or staying on message?

@Finn_PR believes that timeliness is most important as delay can be worse than the problem itself. Even if we don’t know all facts can we should acknowledge the comment and say we’re investigating and update our audience as soon as possible. @KStockner and @mcsaatchimena agree, saying speed is everything today, therefore this should be our top priority. @megan_j_hughes  feels they are both important as a lack of timeliness or message consistency can damage a brand, especially as over 75% of individuals who ask questions on twitter want a response in under 35 minutes. Similarly, @SumAllSupport thinks that both are equally as important, folks want a fast response, but also accurate information that offers a solution.