Scott Monty - Strategic Communications & Leadership Advisor

Scott Monty - Strategic Communications & Leadership Advisor

Guest post by Matt Polsky.

Prior to the rise of social networks, online brand management solely focused on common SEO techniques such as keywords, content, and proper HTML code. These techniques were used to secure and maintain the top positions on the search engines, and to ensure that only content a company wanted to remain visible regarding its product, services, or mission did so.

However, those days are over. A company can no longer rely only on SEO to provide proper online brand management if they wish to survive in the online world. Company’s now must integrate SEO techniques with the use of social media sites if they wish to protect and promote their brand.

Social media sites have become increasingly important for companies wishing to outperform their competition. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn have opened up completely new audiences to companies, which would have otherwise not been able to be reached. For many companies’ marketing teams these social networking sites have been a marketing dream.

After Ford’s monumental success of using social media to build hype for the 2011 Ford Fiesta, companies have been scrambling to adequately market themselves online. Now consumers cannot even watch a commercial or listen to a radio announcement without a Facebook or Twitter logo being given.

However, this increased visibility does come at a price. Companies have access to multiple platforms in which they can strengthen and expand their brands, but these sites can also be detrimental to a company if the accounts are not properly maintained. The 2010 Pew Internet & American Life study found that 58 percent of all consumers with access to the internet research a company’s product or service online before giving them their patronage, and most of those consumers are not going directly to a company’s primary website either. Third party sites, such as Facebook, Viewpoints.com, and Angie’s List have become popular stopping points for company reviews and information.

If a company’s Facebook page is covered in negative press, odds are, the potential customer will immediately move on and check out competitors. For businesses to get the most out of their social media accounts, they need to properly manage each account with frequent posts, updates, and positive press. Companies should also be actively engaging their customers. Not only negative comments need a response, comments and tweets complimenting the business are great openings to build strong brand advocates.

Companies wishing to succeed in the ever-growing online world need to increase their connectivity by incorporating both social media and the latest SEO techniques. Visibility can quickly determine a company’s success or failure, and without social media sites, businesses are giving up inexpensive resources that build brand awareness and hype. As social media sites continue to rise, online brand management will become increasingly more important, and companies should become proactive in managing their social media sites.

Image credit: slagheap (Flickr)

Matt Polsky is the Senior Content Manager for VA Mortgage Center, providing insights learned from the nation’s leading provider of VA home loans.