I have met many business owners that have worked hard to build their business and to establish their brand’s good name. Many of them don’t anticipate damage that can be caused by one disgruntled employee or a less than favourable online review. In today’s competitive marketplace, I know it takes hard work to stay one step ahead of the competition, and maintaining a positive image to the public and your customers is vital to your business’ longevity. I have outlined some ways your company can protect and promote your company’s good name.
Why is it so important to keep your brand’s reputation intact? Thirty years ago, as much as 95% of the average corporation’s value consisted of tangible assets, according to a report by Thomson Reuters and Interbrand. Today, 75% of the average corporation’s value is intangible. This means that your company’s greatest asset and its value is its name. Perception has become reality and how people perceive your brand will dictate whether or not they want to do business with you. Are you seen as honest, trustworthy and ethical? People want to do business with companies that they trust and share values with, even if that company’s products and services are of similar quality and cost to that of their competitors. Your company’s good name is what differentiates you from your competition. I’ve outlined below a few tips on how you can keep your business’ good name intact:
Keep your brand’s good name intact:
- Enhance your corporate image by communicating your successes. Feature awards, testimonials and great press on your website and in social media.
- Associate yourself with governing bodies that stand for quality and integrity within your industry. By joining, you’ll be able to use their logo which in many cases will provide instant credibility. Be selective and only join the organizations that will create the most positive impact. Once you’re a member, feature their logo prominently on your website and other collateral.
- Use social media wisely. It can be your best friend or your worst enemy. I believe a well thought- out social media plan that targets your audience can help ensure that only designated employees post on social media and that they stay on message, appear transparent and trustworthy.
- Ensure that your messaging is authentic. No one wants to read what they perceive to be advertising.
- Monitor what’s being said about your company on the Internet and in social media. Designate someone to check the Internet and social media daily for anything related to your company.
- Respond immediately in a positive tone if a negative post is spotted. Don’t argue the point. Never respond in anger. If a customer had an unhappy experience, apologize and let them know you’ll try to make it right. Offer to contact them privately offline. Give them every reason to become a satisfied customer.
Are you doing enough to keep your brand’s good name in tact? If you’d like to discuss how TAB could help you with your business, find out if a TAB Board is right for you!
Even though I know some small business owners still have not embraced social media in their business, but in 2017, there is no denying that social media is now pervasive in our culture. When used wisely in the workplace social media is a powerful tool that can connect individuals, increase productivity, enhance sales and marketing efforts and create brand champions. However, social media also has a dark side. Inappropriate social media used by employees can cause serious damage your company’s reputation, leak sensitive information and/or leave you libel for cyber bullying or harassment. With social media use at an all time high and still growing exponentially, it’s more important than ever for every business to have a clearly defined social media policy.
How many Canadians are using social media?
- 73% of millennials use social media daily (Statistics Canada)
- More than 14 million Canadians check Facebook every day (Miller Thomson)
- More than 400 million tweets are sent daily (Miller Thomson)
- LinkedIn has over 8 million Canadian users (Miller Thomson)
What is a social media policy? A social media policy is a code of conduct that establishes clear guidelines and expectations for your employees. It clearly defines which social media sites employees may access and what is and is not appropriate for employees to post about their company on these sites. Typically they include restrictions on disclosing confidential information, trade secrets, financial information and/or potentially offensive material. A social media policy will also clearly state the consequences for breaking the rules.
Why is a social media policy so important? There used to be a clear distinction between your private life and your work life, but social media has blurred all that. People post on social media anytime and from anywhere, often without too much forethought. Millennials, also referred to as the social generation, are notorious for sharing everything, including the minutiae of their lives, without a filter for what is private or work related. “Any company, big or small, needs a social media policy to protect their reputations,” says Aliah Wright, author of A Necessary Evil: Managing Employee Activity on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn…and the Hundreds of Other Social Media Sites. “Even if their company has no social media presence, their employees may be creating one by virtue of their actions online.”
7 tips for creating an effective social media policy:
- State the purpose/objective of the policy
- Clearly define what constitutes social media. Is it social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn? Does it include blogs? Online forums? Videos?
- Decide who is responsible for managing and participating in social media – everyone involved in your company’s social media should know who is responsible for the different tasks
- Establish guidelines for overall conduct and be clear about what is considered unacceptable behaviour – releasing confidential or proprietary information, offensive language, cyber bulling, airing grievances online…
- State the consequences for breaching the policy? Disciplinary action? Termination?
- Make sure that your employees understand the social media policy and provide training sessions if necessary.
- Monitor social media usage to ensure that the policy is being followed
Does your company have a social media policy in place? Want more advice on social media policies, or general advice from other business owners like you? Find out if a TAB Board is right for you!