twitterSo we want to connect with our customers and tell them about all the good things we’re doing and how they can love us on a more intimate basis – yay! This may be how some Marketing Executives and even some Managing Directors view the initial steps on their search to the holy grail of social media, however, as with any quest for treasure, the pathway to a happy ending is often pitted with traps, temptations and even trolls.

If a brand values its reputation but is unsure what they’re doing with regards to social media, then ‘dipping the old toe in’ can often lead to hazardous results which may damage consumer trust beyond all repair. But wait, enough of the horror stories. If a brand is able to create a successful social media campaign, then interacting and engaging with current and potential customers is quite possibly one of the best components of marketing ever invented.

Through regular updates, competitions and special offers, it’s possible for a brand to really convey their warm fluffy side, and from creating the right tone-of-voice to enticing fans and followers back to their website, if a social media campaign is conducted with care then it can often enhance and help to build a brand with very positive results.

The Power of Social Media

How consumers perceive a brand’s identity is everything, and in these days of savvy consumers and global marketing, loyalty is not something that can be taken for granted. Reputation is built over time but can be dashed in a couple of seconds by an annoyed customer who feels that they have been treated unfairly.

That’s why social media is such a powerful tool. Yes, you can interact with your customers but just remember that they can also interact with you, and the rest of the world, at the touch of a button.

In 2012, huge brands came under the cosh by underestimating the power of social response. From Coca-Cola Australia asking Facebook fans to contribute to a storyline using one word at a time, to McDonalds asking Twitter users to submit their fast-food stories in an attempt to focus on organic potato farmers, both brands left themselves wide open to abuse from consumers who didn’t want to play the game.

Let’s face it, the opportunity to amuse and entertain our friends is much more enticing than promoting a brand’s products, and the opportunity to get one over on a big business can often be too tempting to bear. The unfortunate fact is that this applies to small businesses too, and if you value your brand’s reputation then be careful where you tread along the social media path because sometimes an ill-timed word can cause irreparable damage.

Social media is an excellent marketing tool that should be treated with the respect of a two-headed hydra and it needs to be monitored and tended with extreme caution. As much as we all love to have friends, followers and fans it’s much more important to have a positive reputation, so just be careful what you wish for because not all quests end happily ever after.