Social media is a becoming the tool for the marketing toolbox, but should it be for mass transit? There are many challenges and risks when taking a brand social or not. The mass transit is very public industry and it has just begun to open itself to social media.
Companies need to consider the risks and rewards prior to make the commitment. These include brand image, demographic, social media tools, confidential information, and commitment. When a company decides to take a brand social, they are taking a step towards transparency. They need to be prepared to open themselves up to scrutiny and opinions that are public without their prior consent. Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion and social media has become that vehicle to express in a way that is easier than a phone call. Customers know that social media sites are constantly monitored and it is a way to interact without waiting. Will the company be ready to accept this and know how to react? Will there be procedures in place to handle social damage control?
I think that it can definitely be a challenge to integrate a social component into an established brand, but I think that in many cases, with a proper integration and implementation plan, companies can really benefit from having a social presence. If a company is able to utilize social media, as well as its traditional marketing plan, it opens itself up to a multidimensional marketing strategy with the ability to attract potential customers and retain existing ones. However, companies need to be ready to commit to the time and effort it takes to make a successful transition into social media.
A great resource is an article by Jan Hertzberg and Matthew Thompson (2013), titled “Managing Your Company’s Social Media Risks.” The article includes tips on how companies can manage the risks and liabilities of social media. The four tips include understanding, strategy, involvement, and monitoring. (I have placed helpful videos to illustrate each tip.)
First, understand and assess risks by evaluating the risks and determining how they to manage them.
Second, define your strategy by creating a plan or procedure when issues arise.
Third, involve all the departments of the organization because each has an important role to protect the firm’s brand.
Fourth, monitor and manage feedback by listening to the customer and responding in a timely manner.
If you want to take your brand social, you need to understand your brand. It’s important to know your brand and determine making it more transparent will affect the company. Just like building a house, you need a strong foundation or else the house will crumble. Is your brand strong enough?