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Social Media and Brand Reputation Strategy

Direct engagement top short-term response

An oft-cited fear of brands is that online consumers will post negative comments about them, especially on social media where opinions can be broadcast far and wide. In their “Social Media and Online PR Report,” Econsultancy and bigmouthmedia explored ways marketers can combat brand bashing.

Asked what their company had done to minimize negative comments in the past, nearly one-half reported having directly engaged with the consumer. The second-most-common strategy was longer-term in focus: trying to improve products and services.

A few respondents had tried to get offending content removed, but that tactic can backfire and cause further negative remarks against the brand. Econsultancy noted that only 12% of companies tried to create their own content to offset negative consumer opinions in search results, and that more could go this route.

Brand monitoring was an important aspect of Twitter usage as well, among the companies surveyed, though publicizing new content was the top activity. About one-quarter of companies were using the microblogging site for customer service or gathering customer feedback.

Nearly two-thirds (63%) of companies reported responding to tweets, and 34% responded “systematically.”

More than one-fifth of client-side companies told Econsultancy that fear of reputation issues was a factor preventing more effective social media engagement. Almost 30% of agencies said the same of their clients.

“To address this, there needs to be more education around how to deal with negative PR and social media crisis management, as well as best practice on how to engage in the first place,” according to the report. “There is clearly an opportunity here for agencies to better educate their clients.”

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Check out today’s other article, “Digital Divide Continues.”

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