There are many types of great marketing. Billboards, TV spots, social media campaigns- these can all be effective. But there’s no denying that word-of-mouth advertising is the most effective form of marketing. Not only that, it’s also the cheapest! Unfortunately, however, the very authenticity that makes word-of-mouth so effective on consumer buying habits is what makes it so troubling for marketers. It’s something that historically can’t be controlled. Not only that, it’s a double-edged sword. Consumers can recommend products and services, but all it takes is one bad experience to guarantee that they make sure nobody they know makes the same mistake.
This is, in large part, why businesses commonly have such mixed feelings when it comes to social media. Sure it has the potential to be a valuable tool, but especially given the headline-making gaffes of some of the world’s biggest brands, it’s easy to see why some may be apprehensive. Anybody can say anything about your brand on social, and whether or not it’s true is almost irrelevant. If somebody says it, chances are, somebody else will believe it. But staying away from social media won’t make the negativity go away. In fact, all it will really do is give you less of a chance to counteract any of the inevitable negativity.
Given the power that consumers have on social media, would you rather hope that your most passionate fans are preaching the value of your brand or retweeting your messages, or would you rather know that they are sharing their passion with others and sending messages that build up your brand?
Take the New England Patriots, for example. The amount of truth to the claims of the deflategate scandal is secondary. The damage to their reputation is already done, and in all likelihood, will continue to decline for some time in the wake of the scandal. Of course the Patriots can make public statements and squeaky clean press releases that contest the claim that they knowingly cheated, and while these may move the needle a little bit, it is unlikely that it will have much impact on the public’s perception.
What could have a strong impact, however, is for the New England Patriots’ strongest fans to rally their voices together and match the online negativity with positive messages around the brand. While it’s unreasonable to expect that they could entirely wash out the backlash, having a huge number of passionate, unified voices is undoubtedly the best way to minimize the damage that such a controversy can bring.
It doesn’t matter what industry your brand is in- nobody is exempt from a potential PR crisis. And even without the threat of crisis, the potential for either damage or growth on social media is both too temperamental and too significant for anybody to sit back and simply hope that their brand ambassadors are carrying the message.
That is why a reputation management tool like Soundboard is so important. While there are countless tools that brands can use for conversation marketing campaigns, Soundboard is the only conversation media tool that gives you the security of knowing your fans are sharing your story with their friends, family, and colleagues.
Or, in the immortal words of Don Draper: “If you don’t like what is being said, then change the conversation.”