It’s easy to compare a Social Media community to one big party – where anyone from your grandmother to your wildest friend from college might chime in on the conversation. But unlike most gatherings, every word of this conversation is recorded for posterity. And if you’re a brand – or act on behalf of a brand – setting the scene is more important than ever.
Below are four invaluable tips to manage the online reputation of national brands. Just like any good gathering, it’s all about creating a good vibe and inciting conversations your visitors want to come back for.
1. This must be the place
Make clear who you are and what type of community your fans are joining. The same way a party invite can inform guests as to what to wear and what to expect, posting your house rules can help avoid any awkward moments. This is all the more true if there is anything remotely polarizing about your brand.
2. A house party is not a “home” party
While in the end you are selling something, don’t expect your guests to enjoy a sales pitch. How many people would leave if your cocktail party suddenly became a Tupperware party? The door is just a click away at this one, and each lost fan could equate to $174 a head. Instead of over-marketing your product, offer your visitor something they can really use: inspiration, information or just a laugh.
3. Spill the wine
Bring enough people together and inevitably someone will make a mess (hopefully that person won’t be you). Handle any criticisms promptly using it as an opportunity to improve the experience and prove the merit of your brand. And like all good parties, some might crash it just for the sake of seeing how far they can get – a great time to gently point out the house rules and the consequences of breaking them.
4. They are the champions
It’s great to celebrate who you are, but nothing says you are worthy of it more than when your guests do the praising. As author Paul Rand says in his book Highly Recommended: Harnessing the Power of Word of Mouth and Social Media, recommendations are as important as your reputation and are the single biggest influencer on consumer purchases. Chances are, your followers came to you a fan. Give them a forum to tell everyone why.
One big get-together
Great social media engagement is one big get-together – one where your brand can literally “speak to” a multitude of fans and get immediate, personal feedback from any one of them. When in doubt, rely on the social etiquette you would in any large gathering of strangers-soon-to-be friends. By setting the scene, you’re allowing your social visitor to celebrate the lifestyle surrounding your brand – which is essentially – themselves. Make sure every person at your party knows they are the guest of honor. If you’d like further help in engaging or creating your social community, contact us. We’re happy to help.