January 26, 2011
Ethical Online Brand & Reputation Building
Over the past few years small and large businesses are starting to learn the importance of social media, and how it can bring awareness to their product, brand and services. There are many different platforms in the online world to create your brand and message, but its not as simple as just posting a message. There are ethical ways and steps that businesses need to take so that their company is seen in a positive light. Many companies are afraid of feedback, and feel if they say as little as possible on these social media platforms the smaller the chance of having to deal with negative reviews. How can you make your business better? How can you truly serve your customers if you are afraid of feedback? Part of building an ethical online brand is to allow your potential and current clients to voice their opinions. They are the ones that can truly help your business grow. Below are a few steps that your company can follow to create a brand in the online world that both you and your customers can be proud of.
Listen to your customer first, then speak
Listen to what your customers or potential clients are asking you online. Let them know that you hear them by responding to their questions or concerns. Acknowledgment is the first step in building their trust.
Create content that is engaging not just about sales
Engage your audience by asking them to contribute things to your Facebook Fan page, Twitter Account or blog. Create polls to learn more about them and what important topics that they would like to hear from you.
Once You Create Your Presence Online, Be There, Be Consistent
Remember, first and foremost, social media wasn’t created with a time limit, social media is an ongoing process and doesn’t have a completion date. The most important piece in social media is being consistent with your audience. Don’t be extremely active one week, and then disappear for 3 months and expect your followers or fans to be there, let alone, engaged with your conversation when you decided to come back. Consistency and trust go hand in hand, make sure that you can deliver both before taking your brand online.
Being honest is paramount if you want to grow your online brand ethically. Remember with social media you are coming in contact with people you would never have had the chance to get in front of with retro marketing, so don’t promise what you can’t deliver. Always be honest about who you are and what your company does, its not the best way to build social capital, its the only way.
Follow these steps, as well as implementing your own ethical practices
- Listen & Learn to your audience
- Only share relevant and engaging content, limit the sales lines
- Show who you really are at all times, Share corporate activities, be real and transparent.
- Encourage two way conversations, ask for their feedback, and what could make their experience a more positive one.
- Don’t make promises you can’t deliver. If you make a promise and over deliver that is wonderful, if you make promises and under deliver, that is not ok.