Using digital communications to build your company’s reputation

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Caroline Coskry, Chief Executive

The Oracle Group

‘Reputation is everything’, so the saying goes, although with the proliferation of social media it is becoming more true. Whether your aim is to find new business opportunities, communicate with clients, recruit new employees or simply increase brand awareness, it is very likely that your main channel for doing this is online.

The internet has made the task of managing brand reputation much more complex. Every company has an image to build, enhance and protect. Customers expect to be able to connect immediately to a company online and often being visible online makes the difference between winning business or not.

Your company probably already has a digital presence offering different channels of communication, but it is worth first of all establishing what you want to achieve and the most effective methods of doing that. For example you don’t have to start using Snapchat and Pinterest just to tick that box, because when it comes to reputation, the important things are consistency and trust.

In an ideal world, your reputation would follow directly from your brand. Your communications should be underpinned by your brand values and company key messages – so the tone and feel of your communications should be consistent and if you regularly provide high quality content and well informed opinion, then your trust and authority within the industry will start to grow.

More than likely your organisation is already using some social media platforms, but it is always worth taking a fresh look to see that these are being used to best effect. You may have a presence on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Instagram and you will probably start to see which work best for different purposes. For example Facebook might be a good way to engage with tenants and local communities, Twitter is often good for wider industry interaction and opinion, and LinkedIn can be a way to be visible to potential new employees as well as sharing news.

Whichever social media channel you are using, the same principles broadly apply. Be authentic, post regularly, have something interesting to say rather than too sales driven, reply to comments and queries, start conversations, share/retweet other interesting posts and in general take a friendly approach. It can be good to inject some personality and humour, while making sure your tone and message is consistent with your core brand messages.

Think about how to make your content more exciting for example, including graphics, photos or videos. Use it as an opportunity to drive traffic to your website through links to specific pages that will provide further information. Developing this further, you can come up with specific social media based campaigns if there is a particular issue, event or theme you want to highlight. You can also look at paid for advertising on social media platforms where your ads are tailored to a specific objective, audience and location to help it reach the maximum number of impressions. 

You should think carefully about who from your organisation manages the social media account or indeed whether you prefer to work with an external agency. It works well for example on Twitter when, in addition to the main corporate account, various senior figures also have individual accounts that way creating engagement between the different accounts.

Social media is also often the front line for customer comments, queries and complaints. News can spread these days within seconds - both good and bad. They say you are only ever one social media post away from a brand disaster, which is why all communications should be treated with respect and tact. The problem with social media and the online space is; it is very easy for people to air their grievances and complaints in public. Unfortunately mistakes and errors do sometimes happen and if they do, don’t stay silent and hope the problem will go away. All companies should have some sort of crisis management protocol in place and where applicable work with their PR company in this scenario to limit the damage to reputation.

Good PR is not rocket science but it does depend on having steady stream of news, topical angles perhaps based on research and statistics, as well as having good media contacts at relevant publications that are a match for your core target audience. It is not just about churning out press releases, but also about developing strong stories that will capture media attention and result in positive coverage that actually benefits your business objectives.

In the online world, your website is the face of your brand and there is a lot that can be done to make sure it works hard for you. In order to increase traffic to your website, as well as creating compelling content that is regularly updated for example news and blogs, another important thing to factor in is search engine marketing. Search engine optimisation and paid search (pay per click) helps attract new users to your website and increase traffic, in turn increasing the profile of your brand.

There are many elements to consider in the communications mix and it is an area that is constantly evolving. Ensuring your brand reputation continues to grow and that you are making the most of all of the marketing channels available is a full time job and an area where you are likely to call on the services of a specialist marketing and PR agency. The Oracle Group has five distinct teams of experts covering PR, Social Media, Marketing, Events and Digital, meaning that we have all the knowledge and skills to help you maximise the reputation of your brand.

For further information visit www.theoraclegroup.co.uk or contact me on: caroline@oraclepr.co.uk

 

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