Tag Archives: Brand management advice

5 Easy Steps to Improve Your Online Reputation

Brand rubber stamp. Part of a series of business concepts.

A reputation takes years to build, but only seconds to tear down—or at least, that’s the conventional wisdom.

And it’s true enough. At the same time, though, there are some simple online reputation tweaks you can make to give your brand an enhanced level of prestige among potential clients and search engine users.

These aren’t necessarily quick or instantaneous fixes, but they are fairly straightforward steps you can take today, putting in a preliminary effort as you seek to undo any damage that’s been done to your online reputation.

A Quick Reputation Management Action Plan

Some basic steps that we recommend:

Start by doing a Google search for your company name. There are actually two components to this. First, just type your company name into the search bar and see what the “suggested search terms” are, specifically noting your company’s name used in connection with complaint, fraud, or other negative terms. Then, actually complete a search and see what you can see on the first page of search results. (Anything past page one doesn’t really matter, quite honestly.)

Make a note of any negative terms you see. If you do see your company name mentioned in the same sentence as fraud or hoax or scam, or whatever else, write down what the term is, and start using that term as a keyword in some of your content marketing. This will take a bit of time and it will also take some creativity—you may have to write some articles that “debunk” the “scam” allegations, for instance—but in the long run it can be an effective way to suppress some of those negative search listings.

Read your reviews on Yelp, Google, and other online review services. Take a few minutes to do this each week. Say thanks for the good ones, offer customer service to customers who have issues, and don’t get involved with trolls or flamers. It is important to check your reviews regularly, lest negative reviews start to spiral out of control.

Scan social media—especially Facebook. Spend some time searching for mentions of your company, thanking people who say nice things, and, again, offering customer service to those who have complaints. You might consider deleting comments and blocking users if you have repeat offenders or obvious trolls—i.e., people who don’t have real problems.

Brainstorm some fresh content ideas. In the end, the best way to ensure a positive online reputation is to take the time to create new, value-adding content—not necessarily self-promotion, but useful stuff, stuff that connects your company to real-world benefits and industry expertise.

Start the brainstorming process today—with our help. Contact Grammar Chic at 803-831-7444, or www.grammarchic.net.

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Who Are Your Brand Ambassadors?

Who’s on your company’s social media team? Hopefully you’ve got some good content writers and strategists there in the office with you—or else, you’ve found a good content marketing team to contract. Remember, though, that your team doesn’t merely consist of paid employees. Even your social media followers are, in a significant way, part of the team.

Not All Followers Are Created Equally

Some of your social media followers are probably just along for the ride—happy to “like” your company profiles but not necessarily willing to help you spread the word about your brand.

Others, though, are real brand ambassadors—followers who don’t need much prompting to engage your content and share it with their friends.

What we recommend is that you be fully aware of the folks in this latter category, and that you make a concentrated effort to cultivate their enthusiasm and support. Reach out to them directly and thank them for their help. Maybe even offer them special promotions. Certainly look at the kinds of content they seem to like, and adjust your editorial calendars in kind.

Friends and Family

Who, though, are these mysterious followers? Some aren’t so mysterious at all: They’re your friends and family—people who support you no matter what you do, and engage with your company page out of love for you, if not actual interest in what you’re doing!

Regardless, friends and family members can be an important foundation for a fledgling social media campaign. Go out of your way to recruit them and engage them in the earliest stages of your social media campaigns, when momentum is everything and having a few reliable likers and sharers can go a long way toward bolstering your own confidence.

Brand Ambassadors

The next category consists of the folks who we consider to be the true brand ambassadors—folks who don’t necessarily know you or care about you personally but are sincerely enthusiastic about your business. They may be actual customers who care about your projects, or they may just really like your content—but either way, their engagement is priceless.

And as you start to notice these folks, it’s important to empower them. Provide reminders to share your content. Make sure the content itself is well done and attractive. Perhaps even provide some incentives for sharing—such as contests or drawings.

The Peanut Gallery

To close, let us note that you’ll have some ambassadors but likely also some naysayers—some folks who seem frequently to comment on posts just for the sake of being contrarian. This can be frustrating—but then again, contrariness is better than indifference, and their activity may well provide a boost to some of your social media posts. These folks obviously care enough about your brand to engage with it, however destructively, so it’s worth it to be aware of them and perhaps even to try and win them over.

The bottom line: Your social media followers come in all shapes and sizes—and it’s worth it to you to court the true brand ambassadors.

Learn more by contacting Grammar Chic today: 803-831-7444, or www.grammarchic.net.

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Why a Social Media Policy is Necessary for 21st Century Brand Management

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Business owners understand that, like it or not, social media isn’t going anywhere. Using Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other similar sites have simply become a part of our daily existence. But, unfortunately, many business owners don’t stop to think about how the social media pages of an individual employee can negatively impact the entire organization.

Why do I need to create a social media policy for my business?

Thanks to social media, employees have essentially become spokespeople for their employer. Whether they embrace this role or not, it’s real and it matters. One disgruntled employee who tweets about hating her job can embarrass the entire company. An employee who constantly posts Facebook pictures of himself falling down drunk or references drug use can tarnish the business’s image and sense of professionalism.

Since each employee does have the power to impact the brand so significantly, businesses should put a social media policy in place as part of a responsible brand management strategy. This means not only creating policies about social media use during the workday and beyond, but also having employees physically sign off on their understanding of this policy. This ensures that everyone is on the same page, and helps to prevent embarrassing incidents from occurring.

What should the policy cover?

The differences between establishing rules to protect the brand and completely oppressing employees are minor, so a business owner must think carefully before putting guidelines into place. Should you punish someone for tweeting that they’re happy it’s Friday? Probably not. Should you discipline someone for going on a rant about a major client? Yes.

Essentially, a social media policy isn’t created to stop employees from using these platforms entirely. It’s simply meant to ensure that an individual refrains from firing off a tweet or a Facebook status without thinking. In order to create a policy that allows employee freedom but still watches over the brand, consider including some of the following points in the guidelines:

  • Use etiquette: Just as an employee wouldn’t go up to a manager (hopefully) and hurl a string of curse words at this individual, proper etiquette is required on social media. This includes when discussing the company, its clients, and simply when interacting with other users. No one needs to see a profanity-laced exchange on Twitter, only to find that the writer of the words proudly associates him or herself with the brand.
  • Know that you’re representing yourself and the company: A worker should want to keep content on their social media pages clean and appropriate, simply because it’s a reflection of who they are. However, many people do not stop to consider this as they’re posting. The company social media policy should remind employees that they’re representing themselves, as well as the brand, and should keep this in mind as they post. This means no nudity, off-color jokes, or other unsavory material.
  • Remember privacy policies: It’s common for organizations to have privacy policies in place regarding what information can be shared about clients. This is especially true when dealing with medical practices. Employees should always keep these policies in mind when posting on social media. If clients’ information is supposed to be private, this means that a user can’t go on a rant that reveals the identity of customers, even if they think they have privacy settings in place. Failure to abide by this rule may cause major legal issues for the company.
  • Understand that it’s permanent: Employees should understand that everything they write is permanent, whether they try to delete the post or not. For this reason, they should refrain from going on social media when they’re having a bad day or are angry about a work-related issue. This may encourage them to go on a tirade that they later regret and try to get rid of. As a rule of thumb, an employee should proof a tweet or Facebook status twice before posting it. This gives them time to consider whether they’ll later regret what they’re about to say.

Though it may seem unnecessary or harsh, a social media policy is an essential part of brand management in the 21st century. By putting these guidelines in writing, a business owner is ensuring that his or her employees are properly representing themselves and the organization.

The team at Grammar Chic specializes in a variety of professional writing and editing services. For more information about how we can help you, visit www.grammarchic.net or call 803-831-7444. We also invite you to follow us on Twitter @GrammarChicInc for the latest in writing and editing tips and to give a “like” to our Facebook page. Text GRAMMARCHIC to 22828 for a special offer.

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Jane Austen’s Guide to Brand Management

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Brand management might seem like a relatively new concept in our Internet-driven world, but one only has to look to classic fiction to realize that this concept has been pervasive for centuries.  The truth is I’m a big Jane Austen fan.  I appreciate that she wrote some pretty fantastic stories during a time when being a writer (at least for a female) was considered common, scandalous and trashy (point of fact, she didn’t even receive author credit during her life, any book by Jane was credited with being written “by a lady”).  Moreover, I love that she had the amazing skill to create strong, witty and willful female characters, also during an era when having an opinion or an independent thought process (at least as a female) was quite unladylike.

But I am also a fan of Ms. Austen for another reason.  Whether she knew it or not at the time, she was an absolute pro in the area of brand management.

At Grammar Chic, we most regularly assist in brand management as it relates to creating written content, i.e. website copy, social media posts, blog content, etc., used as part of an effective brand management campaign.  Branding is about more than just what your logo looks like or what your tagline or color scheme entails; rather, it is about what people think about you or your company and how they relate to it.

If Ms. Austen happened to be alive today or if Lizzie Bennett and Emma Woodhouse had the ability to be transported to the here and now in flesh and blood, I’m pretty sure they would tell us the following:

  1. Your reputation, and what people think of you, matters.  Your character, as a person or a company, is all you have, so value and protect this above all else.  Austen example: pretty much the premise of every book she wrote.
  2. The majority of brand management does not lie on what you put out there about yourself; rather, it is dependent on what other people say about you. Austen example: Mr. Wickham in Pride & Prejudice.
  3. Keeping #2 in mind, realize that communication still matters and you have the power to make sure you are presenting information accurately and effectively to others.  Make sure your brand management efforts tell an accurate story. Austen example: Mr. Darcy in Pride & Prejudice.
  4. Know what other people are saying about you, good or bad.  Remember that even a positive inaccuracy has the ability to hurt you.  Austen example: Catherine Morland and General Tilney in Northanger Abbey.
  5. Stay true to your brand and its foundation, even if it might not seem cool or popular. Austen example: Fanny in Mansfield Park.
  6. Don’t promote elements about your brand that cannot be sustained.  Whatever you put out there about yourself or your company is something that you will have to live with, so make sure what you are promoting has the ability to grow with you.  Austen example: Marianne in Sense & Sensibility.
  7. Moving a brand up market is hard, time consuming and requires a lot of exposure and consistency.  Austen example: Jane and Elizabeth Bennett in Pride & Prejudice.
  8. A loss in brand reputation based on a bad choice or improper judgment could be irretrievable with your targeted audience.  Austen example: Lydia in Pride & Prejudice.
  9. Keeping #8 forefront, know that it is possible to sometimes make amends for a lapse in judgment or breach in trust. However, this is only possible if you have some pretty significant equity as a brand and if you are truly sincere in how you address a problem.  Austen example: Emma Woodhouse in Emma.

Managing a brand comes down to strategy — considering the information that you put out there about yourself, how the material you present is received by your audience and, ultimately, what type of story is told.  All brand management is based on creative, accurate and honest storytelling, no matter if your story paints a product picture or lays out your strengths as a professional in your field.  Moreover, in the modern world of content marketing, brand management is amplified and expanded upon as you present information on Twitter, Facebook and other social networks.  This storytelling on the fly means that you need to be that much more vigilant about what you are presenting.  Make sure you know what you are retweeting or sharing; tying yourself to another brand could hurt you as well as help you, depending on their own attitudes toward brand management.  In closing, the next time you are engaged in any level of brand management, make the best decision by simply calling upon some Regency wisdom and ask yourself, “What would Jane Austen do?”

The team at Grammar Chic specializes in a variety of professional writing and editing services. For more information about how we can help you, visit www.grammarchic.net or call 803-831-7444. We also invite you to follow us on Twitter @GrammarChicInc for the latest in content writing tips and give a “like” to our Facebook page. Text GRAMMARCHIC to 22828 for a special offer.

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