Using Social Media To Avoid The Fires

One of the biggest challenges in my new role at Strategies 360 is going fromfire_meaney2-150x150 developing social media strategies for B2B & B2C to less product/service focused clients.  Most of our clients fall under non-profit, education, energy, & cause based organizations.  Most of these firms are not selling a product or service, they are selling an idea or wanting to build awareness and support for their directives or initiatives.  Challenging, yet definitely fun.

Today I spoke with a client that had a fire alarm.  A very bad review surfaced on a major review site about one particular individual that is no longer with them.  The negativity around this situation had much more to do with the individual then the organization, however now on the front page of Google, this review appears when searching for this firm.

Obviously we are working with them to change this and it shouldn’t take much, but it goes to the heart of what I am pitching to our existing and future clients around the importance of implementing and executing on a social media strategy regardless of whether you actually sell a product or service…controlling your brand identity.

While this client has currently worked with us on a few standard social media practices they did not go with our full recommendation that involved creating a blog and an editorial calender/strategy to populate the web with their story.  If they had, they would have had months of great content about their organization that would dominate the search results for their brand, and this negative review would most likely not have cracked the top page of results.  Now we are forced to quickly push out more favorable content in hopes of making the negative review less prominent then it currently is.

Every company or organization needs to understand that a strong social media and communications strategy is not just about the short term benefits of building reach and influence.  It’s also about owning your brand/identity and avoiding the fires before they happen.  By telling your story and engaging with your audience, you will have that to fall back on when a crisis hits. 

One or a few bad reviews should never cripple a company or organization that traditionally does great work, but if you don’t tell the world that you do, then that is exactly what can happen.

5 comments

  •  This is a very interesting topic and the work involved is fascinating. The whole idea of brands controlling what gets out there is an amazing game of cat and mouse. 

    I suppose you cant tell them the truth? I suppose you cant tell them that they cant control what people will say? 

    How cognizant of the reality are they really? I would love to know the kind of personality obstacles you encounter in these situations.  

    They are panicked, fearful, irrational, emotional, scared, ….I could go on and on….how do you get past THAT aspect of business? Or do you?

    • Oh I was very truthful with them from day one and through this challenge.  It was an eye opening experience for them and just made them realize the importance of being more proactive rather then reactive.

      Most of the clients I work with simply do not realize the power of social media as it pertains to owning your brand.  They look at it as a “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” attitude, which is all well and good until the shit hits the fan.  They also often fail to realize the opportunities they are missing out on.  It’s definitely more of a challenge with the types of clients we target.

  • A great read on something too many companies skip.  When done right, a company can actually turn a critic into an evangelist.  If ignored, it is like a customer service representative hanging up on a client call while the world watches.  Thanks for sharing the story!

    • Thanks for stopping by and commenting.  I agree and have seen countless examples of companies turning negative situations into positive ones.  Especially when they are transparent and acknowledge their mistakes.

  • Jason, aloha.  Hindsight is 20/20, isn’t it?  What a shame they did not listen to your advice in the beginning.  Had they been delivering great content and engaging with their customers/clients prior to the bad review, it would have been a molehill rather than a mountain.

    You certainly will have an excellent object lesson to relay to other clients who will, hopefully, learn by the unfortunate experience of this one.

    Best wishes for a great week, Jason.  Aloha.  Janet

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