How to be Proactive about Social Networking and protect your Brand

Social networking is here to stay and if you want to stay in business you had better learn to proactively manage it.  It involves more than setting up a Facebook page or Twitter account, it involves searching, responding, and making sure there are positive things said about you on the web. It also involves employee training so rules are defined before a problem occurs.

  • Reserve Your Spot

The first step in getting involved in social networking should involve setting up accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and other pertinent groups. This will prevent someone else from setting up a page using the moniker that you would like to be known by. It also prevents fake pages that are set up as if they are your business or entity without proper permissions.

  • Monitor Your Social Networking Page

Once you have set up your page or account, you should post information that may be of interest to others and information that contributes to your brand image. Most importantly though, you should monitor your pages for links to porn sites and other unwanted attention. It reflects poorly on a brand if undesirable posting are posted on your Facebook account and it is left for everyone to see.

  • Search for Yourself or Brand

On a regular basis, you should perform a search for your name, business, etc. This will allow you to find out what is being said about you and yours on the web. If you discover untruths you should contact the source and ask for them to be removed. If the things that are written are undesirable but true, it is time to start damage control by responding or burying the unfavorable comments.

  • Plan a Response

If unfavorable information is recent and growing in number, you should carefully plan to respond to customer concerns. Customer trust is more important than privacy in today’s changing world. This can be a learning experience for all involved since you may see where you can improve your brand image by listening to what people are saying about it.

  • Read the Fine Print

Facebook is a great tool for social networking but all involved in posting to the social media page should be aware of a clause in Facebook’s TOS. “We take an…irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense) to (a) use, copy, publish, stream, store, retain, publicly perform or display, transmit, scan, reformat, modify, edit, frame, translate, excerpt, adapt, create derivative works and distribute….” This clause is in effect even after a Facebook membership has been terminated.

***This is important to the business user as well as the individual since many employers study social networking sites before making a hiring decision. A 2008 article on PC World stated that twenty percent of employers admitted checking an applicant’s social networking profile before making a decision to hire. In 2009, reported that number had risen to forty-five percent. A March 2010 survey by Microsoft discovered that seventy percent of hiring managers had rejected an applicant due to information they found online***



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