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SIX things to help you avoid online brand “SICKNESS”

Social media is an interactive and credible channel that many marketers are trying to make full use of. However, its interactivity is also seen as a threat for many brands. Here is a list of SIX things to ensure that your brand won’t become SICK online.

1) Listen (please). Customers speak about your brand everyday, on their own blogs, web forums and in social media. Listening to their opinions will help you understand them & to identify key actions. For example, if you are planning to open a Facebook page for your brand, a search for existing topics mentioning your brand in web forums will give you a guide as to what kind of discussions / questions / feedback you may get once you activate your Facebook page.

2) Information Journey. People search for information online to avoid the risk of making a wrong purchase decision. As they search, they will receive information from columnists, webmasters and existing customers. The marketer’s task is to identify where their information sources are and try to manage these sources.

3) Prompt action is needed when serious complaints appear in public spaces. There are many cases where the brand kept quiet because they needed to recheck all the facts & find the “right” answers. Our recommendation is to “at least” tell consumers that you are aware of such complaints before reverting later. It’s much better to tell them when you will give them the right answer, than to say nothing.

4) Be nice. Brands on social media are just like someone who lives in society. Be nice to others & they will be nice to you. Try to reduce the tendency to be attacked by competitors, anti-product groups, etc., which could make you lose focus.

5) Focus on value of products/services. The most difficult thing is to influence others to mention some positives about our products or services if ours are just not good enough. Besides PR and conversations on social media, we need to ensure we consistently deliver high quality products and services. For example, the restaurants with clean food good taste and great service don’t need much PR since people will keep talking positively and recommending from one to another.

6) Identify the advocates and support them. There may be a big group of fans who like our brand but don’t say it out loud. Some of them are happy to spread the good word around because they are brand loyal to us. The goal would be to identify who they are and create an exclusive channel to reach out to them.

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