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Archive for March 27th, 2012

Does your business maintain a YouTube channel? How about a Facebook page? Have you looked at them lately? Who’s minding your corporate reputation on these social media properties?

At coffee this morning with a friend and business associate, our conversation turned to digital media and the variety of improper uses companies allow in order to stand out on YouTube, Vimeo and other popular social sites. The pressure to do more than just have a presence is immense. Short videos displaying the benefits of new products and solutions are great. Celebrity spokespeople providing a reality-like testimonial for your thousands of Facebook fans — a marketer’s best dream. And if your company is lucky enough to have a video go viral the result can be felt on the Richter Scale. But what’s the impact on reputation when your latest social media campaign fails to follow branding guidelines, or worse, crosses a line from being edgy to having poor taste?

Case in point: A certain vodka manufacturer posted an ad on its Facebook page. The ad’s  photo and message had a clear connection with rape. Smart? Do vodka companies need to care that their social media outreach, targeting a 21 – 34 demographic, ultimately reaches mainstream audiences as well? Is the company risking a reputation backlash with a clever but ill-advised ad that generates tons of earned media coverage?

Of course!

So some words of caution to consider.

Monitor your organization’s YouTube and social media efforts.

Make sure a trusted communications leader scrutinizes your organization’s social media content before it gets posted.

If you pursue social media outreach, keep it up-to-date with frequent and timely posts, video and interactive content.

Corporate reputation takes years to establish, but can be blown apart with a 60 second video designed to create interest, be edgy or skewer the competition. Do you really want your reputation to be the next corporate pinata in the business section of the news paper?

Take serious stock in everything tied to your brand. And don’t be afraid to can that great social media idea when you sense it might turn into a disaster.

-end-

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