Most brands are fast catching up with the social media frenzy and gaining presence online. However, they nurse a common fear, which is the fear of not being able to control the online conversation about their brand. The big question always is “How do I manage negative conversations about my brand? “ This might sound like an impossible feat to curtail without getting entangled in an online war with the consumer. But matter of fact, you can actually own the conversations online.
In the online space, your brand is the story, and the online community are the storytellers.
Good engagement creates good sentiments and in turn churns out good stories about your brand.
The sure bet to steering the online conversation your way is using influencers and community managers.
Influencers are social media stalwarts with a large cult following whose opinions are revered and easily spark online conversations. Whatever they say catches on, and their every post or tweet attracts a swarm of comments, likes and shares. This influence gives them the power to make or unmake your brand depending on what they say about it. Never underestimate that guy with 5,000 followers on twitter or facebook who fills up your timeline every minute. Or the girl who gets over 2,000 likes on every Instagram post she uploads. They seem to have a lot of time on their hands, and you might probably call them jobless. Well, why don’t you give them a job then?
Pay them to lead conversations about your brand. Using online influencers to lead the conversation about your brand is a sure way to steer positive conversation online. Not only can they lead the conversations, they can also intervene when there are negative online sentiments. Their positive crusade about your brand influences their entire following, and this empowers their following to promote and be evangelists of your brand.
Influencers must be briefed on the communication however should not in any way speak in the brand’s tone of voice. They should post their sentiments in a very natural, personal way so as not to give off a sense of paid influence, especially when the communication is sales driven. Soft sell is king in online communication, so although influencer’s content is guided by your brand, they should sound honest and very opinionated. With the right influencers, you are assured of steering online conversation in whichever direction you want.
A good community manager is a dedicated resource who manages your online community. This role entails absolute dedication to customer care, real time solutions and responses in the brand’s tone of voice. By posting and interacting as your brand, the community manager becomes your ears online, listening and searching for negative comments to administer instant responses and solutions to. This makes the online community perceive the brand as caring, thoughtful and eager to assist.
Even in instances where the brand has gone wrong, the community manager’s responses can make the brand look remorseful and lessen the onslaught. Your twitter, facebook or Instagram account does not have a mind of it’s own. It’s the person behind that account that can make or unmake your brand. One tip in employing a community manager is to check out whether the candidate has an impressive personal online presence. No one can manage your online accounts effectively if they are not social media addicts, or have a good personal online following. A good community manager needs to understand the online turf in order to easily resonate with the online audience.
By incorporating these two solutions in your online strategy, you are assured of owning the online conversation around your brand. Good conversation builds good engagement, which in turn translates into good brand reputation.
A good brand is one with a good story