What if Social Isn’t Right for My Brand?
This year saw many brands joining social platforms for the first time. Many of these brands and organizations are in fields that one would not immediately think of as having a need for a strong social presence, such as the U.S. Department of State, led by Secretary of State John Kerry.
The Department recently joined Instagram, and now they churn out videos of Obama’s official motorcade and cool behind-the-scenes photos of Secretary Kerry’s work with the United Nations and foreign diplomats. It would seem that if the U.S. government is getting social, everyone should be. However, for some brands, joining the mass media engine that is Twitter or being accessible on Facebook isn’t appealing. It may be even downright damaging to their brand.
Social may not be right for your brand for a variety of reasons. One of the best cases against joining social media networks that I have heard was from an ultra-luxury brand that felt that being in any mass media was damaging to their aura of super exclusivity.
Their product has much higher demand than can be met, and they have no need to engage with the greater public in the free-for-all of Twitter. They also didn’t have any interest in joining Facebook because they didn’t need to dedicate time or resources to building a community and interacting with them daily. All of these were great arguments, but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be listening to what people are saying.
If your company doesn’t want to be active on social media, it’s OK. But you still need to be socially savvy:
Stop cyber squatters in their tracks and protect your brand’s real estate.
Be sure to secure your brand’s account on every new social media network that comes out. This simple task can save you a great deal of heartache later on. You don’t have to populate the accounts with content and if you set to Private, people will not be able to follow the brand. We recommend doing this because if the account is set to public and fans see others following, they’ll follow the account, too, and expect content. For an example, look at Rolex’s Twitter account. If there are unofficial accounts posing as your brand, be sure to report them to the social networks’ dedicated Help Desk.
Communicate to the public that you aren’t on social media.
Unofficial brand social media accounts pop up every day. You don’t want someone else putting out content to the public on your behalf, and your target audience may not know the difference. Try to communicate this message on owned media, such as your company website. This definitive statement from you might be all the reassurance fans need to unfollow fake brand accounts.
Just because you aren’t listening, doesn’t mean you aren’t being talked about.
That’s the beauty and the curse of social media. Just because you don’t have a Twitter account and don’t tweet, it doesn’t mean people aren’t talking about you. Invest in social media monitoring software and keep tabs on what is being said. You may not want to engage but use social media listening to pick up on what is being said and then build PR campaigns around changing or expanding upon people’s perceptions of your brand
Consider a spokesperson account.
Follow the lead of social media luminaries such as @dkny and @OscarPRGirl and use your social savvy PR Director or VP of Communications to deliver on-brand messaging on social networks. Rather than create an official social media account for your brand, you can still participate in social by creating a personal account for your most social savvy PR person. They can keep it fun and light-hearted and show the brand’s personality. Neither the @dkny or @OscarPRGirl accounts share the name of the tweeter and use an illustration as a photo, and it’s smart to follow this route in case there’s a staff change. Of course, be prepared for people to investigate – both Aliza Licht and Erika Bearman have been unveiled as the woman behind @dkny and @OscarPRGirl, respectively, due to their on-target messaging and quirkiness that captivates fans.
For more tips on social media listening, read our 5 Innovative Monitoring Strategies blog post. If you’ve decided to add social media to your marketing strategy, get a free download of our 10 Tips to Engage with Your Audience via Social.
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