Social Media and Your Brand: Are You in Control?

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Engaging with social media is vital for any organization that wants to compete in an increasingly online world. It’s an indispensable tool for raising brand awareness and improving your main site’s SEO. Social media does come with some risks, however. A single poorly phrased post or critical comment can go viral in a matter of minutes, eclipsing all previous good work in building a good profile. For a brand’s social media strategy to be effective, it’s imperative to remain in control of all your social platforms. Here are three crucial tips to keep in mind.

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Know who has the keys

It may be tempting to hand off your brand’s social media responsibilities to a junior staff member, or even to hire an agency to handle social media activities. Without due care, either move can cause major problems. An irresponsible or disgruntled individual making poorly written, critical or even abusive posts from your official account can create a PR disaster. Always be aware of who can access any of your brand’s social media accounts — particularly if there are personnel changes in the offing. When working with outside agencies, remember that when you outsource your social media, you outsource your reputation.

You can’t own a hashtag

Hashtags can be a great way to help your audience find posts that might interest them. A hashtag campaign can also be an excellent way to generate buzz. That said, it’s important to remember that anyone can use your hashtag in their posts — and there’s little you can do if they choose to add it to posts that are critical of your brand or otherwise off-message. McDonald’s “#McDStories” tag and the New York Police Department’s “#MyNYPD” are just two high-profile casualties of recent hashtag hijackings. Both organizations asked members of the general public to post stories about their experiences, only to find that their hashtags were added to a number of highly critical Tweets.

Adding trending hashtags to your posts can help draw in traffic, but it’s important to check exactly what the tag refers to. Appropriating the tag for a serious news item for a promotional post is a major faux pas.

Deal constructively with criticism

Social media is a two-way street, and fielding criticism is part of having an effective social presence. It’s one thing to remove comments that contain unacceptable content or are merely abusive, but trying to delete any and all negative comments from your brand’s social platforms can backfire spectacularly. Trying to silence criticism or responding in a hostile or dismissive manner to less positive feedback may end up harming your brand far more than the initial comment ever could. By engaging respectfully with your critics, you demonstrate to your customer base that you’re a trustworthy and responsible company who’ll take their concerns on