Friday, February 5, 2010

Social Media - Reputations (Part one of three)

The concepts of social media and its growing impact on businesses are reflected in the bottom line today. Regardless of a businesses desire or lack of desire to commit resources into social media the impact is already being felt by all companies for better or worse.

The following is a summary of a recent seminar called Reputations put on by Chris Brogan and member panelists. The key points of the seminar discussed how to tap into the power of social networks to build your brand's influence, reputation, and of course profits.

Businesses must choose now to commit significant resources into social media; now means before it too late to manage a businesses online reputation or even to profit from it. Businesses must develop a plan to understand social media and create action steps which are implemented timely. Waiting to commit resources now has the potential to create the conditions in which a business will have to respond to a crisis situation.

As Warren Buffet famously stated “It takes a lifetime to build a reputation and only 15 minutes to destroy it”. Social media will help build or enhance a businesses reputation but can damage or perhaps even destroy a business in a matter of seconds online.

Chris Brogan’s message in a recent seminar covers several key concepts as he does in his book Trust Agents. Chris does understand the need to profit from social media; although profiting from social media does not often have direct correlation.
The key points of the seminar discussed how to tap into the power of social networks to build your brand's influence, reputation, and of course profits.

The Greeting:
Chris points out in his presentation in social situations we greet each other in a non-threatening manner when meeting in person; thus, we intend no harm. Social media opens an informational door that also can provide interested individuals a friendly greeting; a non threatening and even helpful greeting. The “greeting” is delivered from online influencers, third parties, also known as "trust agents” whom are actively engaged “web natives” who trade in trust, reputation, and relationships. Trust Agents use social media to accrue the influence that builds up or brings down businesses online.

Chris uses an example of a hotel that was quick in a response to him via twitter. He wanted to find a hotel in a major city and twittered his network. Shortly after he submitted his inquiry twitters recommended a hotel and even the same hotel twittered him and offered a deal for “bloggers’; they offer all kinds of deals and promotions. He not only stayed there but invited bloggers and others via twitter where he was staying; they said they buy him a drink in the very quiet bar. He stated that soon after his tweet both the bar and the hotel were filled up with paying guests; very profitable for the hotel.

Chris also points out specific pitfalls which can serious damage a business reputation when using social media. A case in point involved an airline that lost his luggage for a period of time; someone or an automated process sent a very unhelpful tweet to him. Needless to say he did not feel “good” about their attempt at one on one communication which was compounded by an equally unhelpful automated phone call to him later about the status of his luggage.

When businesses try to use old concepts of mass communication to reach customers they risk angering the very people they are trying to reach. Social media is about real one on one communication, not emulated.

More will be covered of the seminar “Reputations” in our next issue as part two.

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