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Social Media and Your Brand

For a recent vacation, my husband and I booked a package that, unfortunately, only offered direct flights to our destination on Spirit Airlines. We thought it couldn’t be that bad. (We were so wrong.) As I sat in the airport missing vacation time, I checked Twitter to see the airline’s responses to its upset passengers. But, Spirit doesn’t even HAVE Twitter! In fact, several fake accounts appear to be authentic (and passengers believe them to be real). These accounts, run by people who dislike Spirit, are alienating already upset customers.

 
This made me consider why PR and your social brand matter. Your business may not need every social platform, but I’d argue you need at least some. Here are a few tips on managing those you use.
 

1. Engage appropriately.

Choose your platform carefully. Is Facebook for you? What about Instagram, LinkedIn or Google? If you have a storefront, your business should be easy to find on Google. I often call businesses directly with one click in my mobile browser.
 
Be ethical. This might sound vague. Here’s an example: don’t review your own business without – at minimum – disclosing your role and interest in its success.
 
Use common sense. Don’t post details online when addressing bad reviews. Know what you’re talking about. Don’t use trending hashtags without knowing their meaning. (You might misuse one and be noticed for the wrong reasons.)
 

2. Lead the conversation.

Start conversations that are important to you. People seeking information will find it. However, don’t ignore what your customers want to discuss. Listening is equally important. If you aren’t doing it, others will - and you may not like what they say.
 

3. Manage your personal brand.

Business owners are the face of their companies. Make sure you’re proud of your reputation. Even tight privacy settings show profile pictures to anyone, and you may not know who can see your profile via mutual friends. If you wouldn’t want your biggest competitor to see it, don’t put it out there.
 

4. Employ different strategies.

Understand demographics for your customers and the platforms you use. Do you market primarily to older men? Pinterest probably isn’t for you. Consider Instagram to reach teenagers. LinkedIn is great for referrals.
 
Whatever platforms you use, use them differently. Facebook manipulates newsfeeds and prioritizes friends over businesses. Twitter moves quickly and needs more content. Understand your goals and plan accordingly.
 

5. Stick to your expertise and business philosophy.

Many social blunders are a result of brands inserting themselves into conversations, even if they don’t belong. While there is certainly a place to commemorate important happenings or acknowledge current events, be careful. You don’t want to promote shopping online while Hurricane Sandy batters customers’ homes (remember Gap.com’s tweet?).
 
Finally, don’t treat business pages like personal accounts. Your political or religious views or what you’re having for dinner probably don’t belong on your company pages. Keep it professional. And when in doubt, don’t post it.
 
 
Kelli Brignac is an account manager at Obsidian Public Relations. Need help refining your social media strategy? Reach out to insight@obsidianpr.com

Posted: 10/21/2015 10:43:23 AM | with 0 comments
Filed under: Big, Brand, Brignac, Business, Ideas, Kelli, Media, Obsidian, PR, Small, Social




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SMALL BUSINESS
Your business may be small, but that doesn't mean that your impact can't be huge! The Greater Memphis Chamber's Small Business Council serves to encourage, support, recognize and be a resource to small- and medium-sized businesses in the Memphis area. Here, our talented panel of contributors will present big ideas that could make a huge difference to your small business. And don't be afraid to ask questions ... no matter how small.

CONTRIBUTORS
VOSS GRAHAM
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Voss W. Graham is CEO and Senior Business Advisor for InnerActive Consulting Group Inc. He is known by his clients as "a knowledgeable partner who helps our team achieve business growth." He provides practical experience as a small business owner for over 29 years, yet is often engaged with Fortune 500 companies in the development of their people and business strategies.

OBSIDIAN PUBLIC RELATIONS
Public Relations
Several professionals and strategists from the local Obsidian Public Relations firm provide excellent advice on everything from research to media relations to event planning. They believe that all companies, no matter how big or small the company or its budget, should have a public relations plan driving how they manage their relationships with key stakeholders. Public relations is an integral part of doing business the right way.

JOEL MYERS
Human Resources
Joel Myers is a career Human Resources professional, with over 40 years in the field including 26 years in consulting.

TOM PEASE
Small Business Advice
Tom Pease is a small business owner of an office equipment dealership called e/Doc Systems, Inc. He has also owned a full-line Kawasaki dealership as well as a document shop. He used 30+ years of experience in owning a business to author two books, including: Going Out of Business by Design: Why 70% of Small Businesses Fail and Small Business Survival 101. He also has published 85 columns in The Memphis Daily News as the Small Business Advisor.

LORI TURNER-WILSON
Marketing & Public Relations
Lori Turner-Wilson is CEO and Founder of RedRover Company, a sales development, marketing and PR consulting firm. Lori works with companies large and small, from start-ups to mature organizations, to help them improve the productivity of their sales force and the return on their marketing investment. Lori writes a weekly syndicated column for the Daily News, Memphis News, Nashville Ledger, and Desoto Times, among others, titled “Guerrilla Sales & Marketing,” for which she won a 2011 Summit International Award and 2012 International Communicator Award.

INFERNO
Design and Digital Strategy
Founded in 1999, inferno provides brand development, advertising, public relations, design and digital marketing services to clients across a broad spectrum of industries. Headquartered in Memphis with a satellite office in Kalamazoo, Michigan, the award-winning firm produces results-driven work by passionately combining strategic thinking, creativity and culture to ensure the success of its clients. For more information, visit www.creativeinferno.com.

FISHER PHILLIPS LLP
Labor & Employment Law
Fisher Phillips attorneys are ready to help you take a stand: in court, with employees and unions, or with competitors. Fisher Phillips has the experience and resolve to back you up. That's why some of the savviest employers come to the firm to handle their toughest labor and employment cases. The firm has 350 attorneys in 32 offices, including Memphis. For more information, visit www.fisherphillips.com.

PARAGON BANK
Finance
Since its founding in 2005, Paragon Bank has maintained a solid focus on the community and customer service. For more than 10 years, Paragon has delivered innovative products and financial expertise, convenience, and a deep understanding of what both businesses and individuals need from a ban, in order to provide solutions that make a difference. In the areas of business or personal banking, lending options or wealth management, Paragon delivers cutting edge technology, an experienced team and the most service-oriented staff of any community bank.



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