Social Media Optimization and the Brand/Reputation Management

This article is about how to put the brand positioning (brand awareness and brand recognition) in the context of online reputation management and social media optimization activities. In addition, there is the separation of SMO activities on the technical and communication level of online engagement.

To achieve the strategic approach for the implementation of social media optimization (SMO), there is a need for the framework through which will be possible to facilitate the activities, related to online the reputation management strategy and its implementation in a social media optimization activities. This framework should be done in the accordance with the desired image sent by an organization in online environment.

Brand/Reputation Management and Social Media Optimization Matrix

Proposed framework – “Brand/Reputation Management and SMO Matrix” (inspired by Rohit Bhargava, “Social Media Optimization”) represents two different brand perspectives, related with the organization’s goals in a social media environment, and its repercussions for an organization’s reputation: Brand Awareness and Brand Recognition SMO activities.

Online Reputation Management and Tactics

Developing online reputation strategy and tactics in the field of social media activities depends on the brand perspective, or on the actual online/offline brand position in the minds of users [1]. If two different organizations have the same strategic goals (see picture below), unknown organization will have different activities to achieve desired goals, comparing to an organization with a well developed reputation and brand architecture. “Brand/Reputation Management and SMO Matrix” is the proposed answer to the different organization’s activities, related to the brand position.

Brand positioning and online reputation in the case of SMO activities

Brand/Reputation Management and SMO Matrix

Brand Recognition Activities and SMO

A. Brand and Reputation

If the brand position of an organization in online/offline environment is related to established brand architecture and reputation, the first step in the SMO activities is related to the strategy implementation, with the focus on the established reputation advantages. Organization with established reputation can count on significant social media coverage (publicity perspective of social media optimization), related to the level of the brand equity. The main goal is to use achieved reputation for the success of the SMO activities.

B. Positioning

Although established brand has some level of social media visibility (depending of the brand equity), there is a need for mapping the appropriate social media outlets, according to the desired goals (positioning the organization in a targeted social media).

C. Integration

In the context of the preparation of an organization’s social media activities, there should be some activities and the processes which integrates online and offline communication with the external publics.

D. Content and Syndication

As the result of the previous steps in presented Matrix, the variety of quality content should be created, or prepared to be created. The best results in SMO activities [2] can be achieved with the viral component of created content. Through the syndication channels, the viral component of a content flow can be achieved more easily.

E. Engagement

The most important element of social media optimization (if the previous steps are done correctly) is an appropriate engagement in online environment. Online communication activities (described in the separate chapter) are done in un-controllable environment, or in the real two-way communication model, with the emphasis of the listening component of online communication [3].

Brand Awareness Activities and SMO

A. Content and Syndication

Strategy implementation in the case of organization with un-established reputation and/or brand architecture (e.g. new company) is in the focus of the creation of the quality content and the content flow through the social media outlets. The main goal is to achieve the growth of online reputation (brand equity) through the quality content and it’s sharing through the SMO activities.

B. Engagement

One of the best ways to create the online visibility for an un-established organization is the appropriate engagement in social media. With the backup of quality content previously created (on the Web site/blog), online engagement can be the trigger for the online reputation development.

C. Positioning

In the case of brand awareness activities of an organization, positioning refers to the establishment of a visible position in the most influential targeted social media outlets, as well as in the minds of the most influential opinion leaders in social media sphere. The goal is to reach as more influential social media and individuals as possible.

D. Integration

The further development of online reputation should be achieved within the integration of online and offline communication channels. The established online reputation can be further developed through the classic communication channels – classic media (see the example of milliondollarhomepage.com).

E. Brand and Reputation

The rise of organization’s online reputation is determined with the success of the previous steps of the social media optimization activities, if it is the case of the brand awareness strategy implementation of an organization.

Results and Evaluation

Accountable online environment enables organizations to be aware about the exact results of SMO activities, and to evaluate them. After the evaluation, the obvious step is to correct the strategy and tactics issues to achieve better results in the next cycle of SMO activities. There is also possibility to correct the outputs of SMO activities in real time, if the all elements of SMO activities and business processes associated to them, are projected in the way to be instantly modified.

Social Media Optimization Activities

To implement the online strategy that has the positive online reputation growth as the result, there is a need for an engagement in certain social media activities. Social media activities are executed on the technical and communication level (according to 16 Rules of Social Media Optimization).

Social Media Optimization Activities

Social Media Optimization Activities

Here is the selected overview of 10 SMO activities:

Technical SMO Activities

A. Increase site linkability

Many sites are “static” – meaning they are rarely updated and used simply for a storefront. To optimize a site for social media there is a need to increase the linkability of the content – for example, to create a blog, whitepapers, guides, aggregate other content, etc.

B. Easy tagging and bookmarking

Adding content features like “add to Del.icio.us” link button, a list of relevant tags, suggested notes for a link, etc.>

C. Reward inbound links

Inbound links are very important to a site visibility. Creating permalinks, making the comments on the site that links the observed website, linking sites with the inbound links to the observed website, these are very good tactics to increase the number of the inbound links.

D. Enable the travel of the content

It is a paramount to use syndication technology like RSS and ATOM, but the real benefits can be also achieved by submitting the relevant content on niche social media sites (like .avi files on YouTube.com, .ppt files on SlideShare.net, etc.)

E. Encourage the mashup

Mashup is the term that describes the mixture of different content on the observed Web site, using social media technologies (Web 2.0) such as Google Earth, embedded YouTube video, etc. The idea is to create the Web site content on the way to be easily mashed up with other content on other Web sites. It pays to be more open about letting others use observed content (within the reason).

Communication SMO Activities

A. Participate (Conversations)

“Join the conversation. Social Media is a two way street, lets not forget that. By conversing with the community you are creating awareness and prolonging your buzz. You are keeping it going and this often results in a snowball effect. Participating helps your message spread further and faster.” [4]

B. Create the usable content

It does not matter what industry it is about, and what boring products have to be publicized, there is always some kind of content that can be created that will work. [4] (Same as Brand Recognition Activities and SMO, in the proposed Brand/Reputation Management and Social Media Optimization Matrix).

C. Transparency

It is very easy in online environment to find out who has a real knowledge, and who fakes. For the developing the positive online reputation development of an organization, there is a need to focus on the core competencies, and not to magnify the properties of the products and services that is sold. There is always someone who knows more.

D. Targeted audience

It is the waste of time to engage in the social media outlet where target audience of observed organization is not present. There is a strong need to choose the right channels of social media communication (targeted social media outlets).

E. SMO in business processes

To achieve the best results in SMO activities, it is paramount to translate current SMO activities in organization’s business processes (related to marketing and/or PR departments of an organization).

Note: This is the part of the conference paper “Social Media Optimization as the Segment of Online Reputation Management”, from 8-th International Conference E-trgovina 2008, Serbia, Palic, April 16-18, 2008

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3 odgovora na Social Media Optimization and the Brand/Reputation Management

  1. Great, detailed post! Online reputation management is such a core component of the social media marketing wave – most solopreneurs and even businesses miss the implications of not managing it.

    Thank You!
    Maria Reyes-McDavis

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  2. Excellent article. I hope that I’ll have chance to see your presentation live on next conference!

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  3. Clear, concise, Social Media Optimization SMO tips, useful Brand Awareness Activities information. Especially with integration and engagement which are some of the key priorities for all online marketeers, branding consultants and PR people.

    I gather that is information was from the Social Media Optimization as the Segment of Online Reputation Management paper. I hope others find this informative to leverage online communities and social networks. High definition of clarity given throughout and worth following up an actioning.

    http://www.hd-productions.biz

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