New Media Technology News
New Media Technology News

Firms Must Protect their Brands on Social Networks

Many small businesses are putting their brand reputation at risk by treating social networks as “places to hang out with friends”, according to reputation specialist Judith Germain managing director of management training firm Dynamic Transitions.

Firms are forgetting that social networking sites are places where reputation and credibility is established, maintained and developed, says Germain.

“Many business owners take a relaxed and whimsical approach to how they network on places like Facebook, which can be quite detrimental to them,” she says. “Others join business networks and then remain invisible.”

While there are some outstanding creative examples of brands using social networking, many small firms don’t know what to do on sites such as Twitter and Facebook, says Laura Jordan Bambach, executive creative director at agency LBi in London and expert contributor to Marketing Donut, the new website for small firms.

“Many brands are failing in social spaces,” says Jordan Bambach. “Businesses are promoting themselves via so many touchpoints — social media, advertising, direct marketing and so on, but the consumer just sees the brand. It’s important to have a unified voice.”

At the same time, not all social networks are the same, so businesses must focus on who they are targeting, she says. “Twitter has a much more mature audience than Facebook for example. Bebo has another audience again. So you do need to talk to people in different ways.”

Social networks are about relationships and conversation, continues Jordan Bambach. “The human element is paramount, so firms have to find ways to engage with people and have something interesting to say,” she says. “Sometimes that means widening what you talk about away from what you offer and into areas that you are passionate about that fit with your brand.”

The other key issue is to protect your brand by getting on networks before someone else does — using your name. “If businesses are not on Facebook or Twitter they run the risk of having other people setting up in their name,” adds Jordan Bambach.

According to Germain, in this difficult economic climate, brand reputation is more important than ever. “A good, strong and credible reputation is the one thing which can provide you with the superior and sustainable leverage you need to survive the credit crunch, whilst others around you fall by the wayside,” she says.

Further information:
Become a Marketing Donut expert by visiting the BHP Information Solutions website
Register for Marketing Donut here
Find out more about LBi here

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