Social media management is more than brand storytelling or raising awareness for new product launches. While it's important in B2B manufacturing marketing, reputation management is also a key part of a sound public relations strategy for your business. One thing that Cain & Company has learned over the years is that a proactive approach to reputation management matters, not only for the sake of building your reputation, but for defending and improving it.
If your manufacturing company was a human being, what would it say? What are its core values, its pain points, its passions? If you were to Google it to learn more about it, what would you find out? If any of these questions — or the ones that naturally flow from them — leave you scratching your head, that's a bad thing. You can't manage your reputation when you don't know what it is. We also suggest signing up for reputation monitoring, so you can see how your brand is trending and address small reputation brush fires before they become unmanageable conflagrations.
Now that you know how you are perceived online, it's easier to determine next steps. You can begin to understand and play to your perceived strengths and begin to realize and correct your weaknesses. If you're trying to communicate value, improve your prospecting, or boost your conversions — and most businesses are doing all of these things at the same time, in one proportion or another — that will influence your approach, not only to social media but to the rest of your manufacturing marketing collateral as well. That approach, in turn, should be reinforced with a clear and concise set of social media policies.
One of the first rules for many businesses is "location, location, location." Here, we’re not referring to your brick-and-mortar location; rather, it’s the many virtual spaces your business inhabits, from websites (and the top level domains associated with them, which should be redirected to your main site) to social media channels, email, review sites, and much more. This can be time consuming, but it’s worthwhile; as many businesses and brands have learned the hard way, digital squatters can do serious damage to your reputation.
Are you being proactive or reactive? Being proactive means being consistently present, putting a brand-consistent message in front of your customers on a daily basis. You should already have a presence on the major social media platforms and should already be communicating your values clearly and consistently. If the first time you’re thinking of crafting these messages is when your brand is already tarnished or actively under attack, it’s too late. Create a content calendar that helps you strategize your content and stay on schedule.
Customers reward brands that listen and respond appropriately. Take time to understand their pain points, even — or especially — when your product or your delivery of a service is that pain point. All of us, from the C suite to the mailroom to your brand as a whole, are only human. Mistakes and accidents will happen, but taking the time to respond thoroughly and thoughtfully keeps your worst moments from defining you. A solid track record is great protection when dealing with a disgruntled client.
The ancient proverb “May you live in interesting times” is a cautionary note, not a benediction. We're reminded of that as we navigate times without precedent, in which businesses are buffeted from all sides by a pandemic, market forces, and an environment in which even seemingly insignificant statements and gestures become political fodder. Your business’s reputation has always mattered, but it takes on an added urgency at times like these. For help with reputation management and a full range of creative marketing services, reach out to Cain & Company.