Image courtesy of flickr user Christiaan Colen

Don’t be a Target: Protecting your social media brand

Social media is everywhere. Whether it’s sharing our favorite photos on Instagram, or updating our family with a timely Facebook post, more that 60% of US adults engage with social media at least once a week. For a small business or organization, failing to lock down the rights to the name for your social groups and pages is a big mistake.

Start by claiming your identity, but don’t let it die on the vine. Get out there and post. Companies whose sales teams use LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook to generate leads experience exponential sales growth. The future of sales is online. More and more customers look for information online about a product or service before hitting the “buy” button. So before we get too far down in the weeds on how that’s happening, let’s learn from the misfortunes of one of America’s largest retailers: Target.

Target Gets Trolled

There’s no better case study for why companies of all sizes have to vigilantly monitor their social media presence than that of recent posts made to Target’s Facebook page. Yep, the country’s second-largest discount retailer apparently decided to go discount on their social media monitoring. AdWeek ran a special in August covering this gem of a story. After Target’s announcement that their children’s departments (primarily toys and clothing) would be going “gender-neutral” when it came to labeling items, their Facebook went berserk. Customers from all ends of the political spectrum began chiming in with their opinion of Target’s bow to “political correctness”.

While the posts from customers were hilarious, apparently their social media response department was a bit overwhelmed. After reading some of the posts, a casual Facebook user by the name of Mike Melgaard decided the funniest possible reaction would be to create a new facebook account, complete with the Target logo as a profile picture, and the name “Ask ForHelp”. He trotted out this new account on Target’s Facebook page, responded to customer complaints and generally pretending to be the most sarcastic, non-PR-savvy employee in Target’s history.

For 16 hours Mike’s posts went unchecked. Customers, believing it was really Target’s internal social media team replying to their posts, replied to the comments in-kind. Seriously, more than half a day went by before Target reported the account and began issuing statements to counteract the fraudulent posts. 16 hours is a lifetime in social media, and left the retailer with a hilarious black eye.

Social Media is Key to Content Marketing

Beyond securing your company’s name and branding on social media, it’s important to keep your pages and social media presence alive and breathing. Regular posts are a must. Just look at how critical social media is in this stellar e-commerce content marketing from Wusnews. Studies have shown that ¾ of customers rely on social media to influence their purchasing decision. Have you gone AWOL in the places 75% of your potential customers go for product and service information / recommendations?

Start by securing your brand on social media (don’t be a Target), and water it weekly with awesome posts that are sure to excite tomorrow’s customers!

Image courtesy of flickr user Christiaan Colen

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Hicks Crawford is a leading Online Marketing at Outreach Media company. Over the past 4 years, He's worked closely with clients from all over the world to help them get more results from inbound marketing and blogging. Through experience, He has mastered some of the most powerful Tech, Content Marketing and Social Media Platforms.

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