Take Control of Your Brand on Social Media

In the midst of the social media mayhem it’s important to sit back and evaluate how to protect your brand in a realm where free speech is the name of the game. For many businesses, social media is a way to monitor the chatter- good or bad- about your brand. It’s also a way to push your companies’ position about certain topics. All of this is well and good until someone clones your brand name and creates their own social media accounts posing as you. This is where you need to watch out. A prime example of this can be seen here, when searching for Bank of America on Twitter you get some other not-so-pleasant results.

Ways to Protect Your Brand

1. Claim Your Brand Name on All Major Social Media Sites

a. Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, Plaxo, LinkedIn, YouTube Channels

b. Even if you’re not ready to launch yet- you need to own these outright so that anyone that comes along- say a disgruntled past employee or unhappy customer cannot start tweeting or posting as you. This is pro-active PR!

2. Monitor the Chatter- there are many helpful websites and tools that allow you to listen to the conversations happening about your brand or products across the web. Here are some good places to start.

a. HootSuite

b. Use Hash tags on Twitter to track key words

c. Digg.com

3. Claim/Create Your Facebook Fan Page

a. Again, even if you don’t want one now or don’t think it will be part of your social media strategy- it’s always good to grab it while you can. With Facebook, even if you can prove someone other than the legitimate business has your fan page name they may not be able to take it away from them so just do it now.

b. Along with this, as soon as you start your Facebook page- claim your unique url name. This makes it easier for your page to be searched and found and it further legitimizes this as your page. For example: www.facebook.com/where2getit So Go Get It!

Social media brings huge growth potential and a way to interact with your audience across many new channels and on a more personal level than ever before. But with that extended exposure comes greater chances for problems and more responsibility falls on you to be pro-active instead of re-active in the social media sphere. And remember, even if you are not planning to integrate social media into your marketing strategy- your customers are still out there, chatting about you so at least listen in on the conversation.

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