Marketing your business via social media can be risky.
Sharing poorly-researched posts that bring misinformation or spark controversies may cause your audience to lose trust in your brand.
Plus competitors are always out there, ready to steal the attention or retaliate to posts.
Nervous? Don’t be – social media marketing strategies aren’t exactly rocket science. As long as you maintain a careful and calculated strategy, then all your efforts should run like clockwork. But in the event that they don’t, you may need social media brand protection.
What is social media brand protection?
A lot of social media marketing guides talk about aggressive promotion strategies, from rolling out Facebook Ads to running hashtag contests. Most of them, however, leave out social media brand protection.
In a nutshell, social media brand protection is an umbrella term that helps you avoid or circumnavigate the common flops in social media marketing. Moreover, it encompasses best practise for social media that can help accelerate brand growth.
The best way to grasp the concept of brand protection is to understand its five basic steps.
So, without further ado, let’s dive right in.
Step 1: Scan networks for your brand name
By now, you should already have active social media accounts on major networks like Facebook, Twitter and Google+.
That’s great! But what about networks like Pinterest, Reddit, YouTube, or LinkedIn?
Ask yourself this: What if a competitor builds a presence on these networks using your brand name?
Okay, such a scenario may be unlikely. But even so, being non-existent on other social networks means you’re missing out on channels of exposure and traffic. It also hinders your SEO since these networks also lead to more social signals, which takes into account the number of likes, shares, comments and overall visibility.
With a free tool like KnowEm, you can quickly and easily check over 500 social media networks for your brand’s presence. Simply enter your brand name on their main page and click ‘Check It’.
KnowEm works by checking for the availability of a username or business name on social networks. For example, if you type in the name ‘JeffBullas’, it would provide you with the following results:
These results indicate that the name JeffBullas is present on YouTube, BuzzFeed, and everywhere else where the word ‘available’ is greyed out. For results on even more social networks, you can scroll down and click the button shown below:
This will enable you to survey over 500 networks under several categories for the availability of your brand name. To view results on a specific category, click ‘Check This Category’.
Now that you know how to check for your brand’s presence on various networks, you’re ready to proceed.
Step 2: Build profiles on authoritative networks
The next step is probably obvious at this point. To secure full control of your brand name in the social space, you need to start building profiles in as many networks as possible.
However, not all social networks are created equal. If you want the best results with the least work done, you need to prioritize the most authoritative networks and work your way down to the not-so-popular ones.
You can refer to this post for a list of the top 10 social networks you can build a presence on.
When it comes to creating the actual social media profiles, don’t forget the following golden rules:
- Communicate with your audience. Rather than treating your social media profiles as mere content distribution channels, you need to participate in conversations with your followers by responding to comments, replying to messages and liking other people’s posts.
- Humanize your brand. Users don’t come to social networks to find branded content, they come to socialize and connect with those who share the same interests. Thus, use a conversational tone, and frequently share relevant and useful information.
- Connect to your website. Aside from providing a well-written description for your profile, don’t forget to leave a link to your official website or a specific landing page. Also, include keywords that describe your niche as naturally as possible.
- Automate. To make content sharing more efficient, try using automation tools such as AgoraPulse to schedule posts in a heartbeat.
Step 3: Make strong passwords second nature
In digital marketing, you need to protect your brand against two things: PR threats and cyber-attacks.
For the latter, the most important rule is to amp up your cyber security by choosing secure passwords.
Unfortunately, one issue associated with keeping too many social media profiles is the number of passwords you need to keep. Traditionally, marketers rely on a simple spreadsheet like the one below:
This strategy works, but presents a big challenge of protecting your spreadsheet from being lost or compromised.
Instead, you can use a password management tool like LastPass or Dashlane to automatically handle your password-keeping and login attempts. They eliminate the need for a tedious password spreadsheet and save you the trouble of memorizing them yourself.
LastPass and Dashlane also support two-factor authentication, which can significantly bolster the security of your passwords. It works by requiring authentication via a mobile app like Google Authenticator, along with a master password that grants access to the account.
Step 4: Write a social media policy
Letting employees partake in social media activities can help boost their overall performance. According to these surprising statistics, 39% of employees believe that social media sites and tools can improve their productivity, while 30% associate social media use with increased job satisfaction.
It’s fairly common for brands to have a team that handles all social media-related tasks. So once you have your social media pages up and ready, it’s time to elaborate a policy that controls what they can post.
When writing a social media policy, there are a few things that you need to emphasize:
- Your brand’s mission. Before posting or sharing something, employees should ask how it can help or communicate the company’s mission.
- Your brand’s voice. To help build familiarity with your audience, establish a distinctive brand voice that your social media team can adhere to. This can be wacky, professional, edgy, and so forth.
- Controversial content. In general, avoid this. Controversial content isn’t worth the risk so carefully categorize what constitutes it.
- Internal processes. Employees need to avoid disclosing sensitive information that must be kept within the company so be clear what’s off-limits.
- Applicable industry rules and regulations. This is pretty self-explanatory.
Employees can also play a major role in social media marketing as your very own powerful brand advocates.
Step 5: Use social media listening tools
At this point, you’re at the final stages of creating an airtight social media brand protection strategy. But there’s still one crucial area you haven’t covered. It involves listening to your followers, and responding to new trends and data.
Every second, social media networks are abuzz with new information. People could be talking about industry trends or sharing groundbreaking news. Either way, whatever the social media noise is about, you need to tune in. And for this purpose, you can use a handy social media listening tool like SentiOne.
Upon launching SentiOne‘s platform, you can create a project by choosing what you want to monitor: your brand’s name, a specific social media profile, or any trending topics in your niche. To listen to conversations around your brand, choose the first option.
On the next page, insert your brand name along with possible keywords you’d like to exclude. Click ‘Next’ when finished.
For the last step, pick a name for your project and be sure to select ‘Create Dashboard’. You can also enable summary alerts for a quick, daily overview of your project. When done, click ‘Save Project’.
That’s it! You can now listen to mentions of your brand across multiple social media networks. For example, if you used the brand name ‘Apple’, your mentions tab would look exactly like:
Do note that the pulled mentions come from the region you specified upon creating your account. In the example above, the selected region is Poland. For alternative platforms, you can choose from one of the tools mentioned here.
Social media listening tools are great for discovering potential leads, extracting feedback from the online community, or correcting any misinformation that your competitors may have ignited.
Social media marketing is an ever-changing landscape.
Always consider the possibility that a strategy that works today may no longer be applicable tomorrow.
Take time to optimize your information and resource channels, enabling you to adjust your strategy if necessary. Today, there are countless blogs you can follow to keep yourself up-to-date with the industry.
Aim to be competitive and adaptive at all times.
Guest Author: Vikas Agrawal is a start-up Investor & co-founder of the Infographic design agency Infobrandz that offers creative and premium visual content solutions to medium to large companies. Content created by Infobrandz are loved, shared & can be found all over the internet on high authority platforms like HuffingtonPost, Businessinsider, Forbes , Tech.co & EliteDaily.