Ok confession time - I'm sitting here watching Miss Congeniality, the reason I mention this - "Gracie Lou Freebush" (stage and cover name for Sandra Bullock), her final talent in the Miss United States Pageant is self defense...
Self defense of your brand online is one of the major concerns for companies and organisations in your resistance to an adopted open social media policy. So if this is you and you've read all the success stories, the scare mongering of deviants on social networks, the cautionary tales of those that tried it and all it did was cost money with little or very little return on investment - at least nothing tangible; then read on.
Defending a brand online is of course the wrong starting point. Everything you do has to be from a positive view point - if you know sports, you know that an attacking game breeds more success than a defending game. To ensure a stable online profile you can not launch with a couple of posts and spend a fortune putting them in a very high profile environment. You have to slowly build (long tail) support so that a few persistent followers, fans, interested people keep coming back, taking an interest and adding to the conversation as a community member. You will start to build trust in your brand, building its personality, its traits and focus - all elements your social media consultant or team have prepared.
As with the UK newspaper culture of building a celeb' and then crucifying them when they have reached prolific popularity the same will inevitably happen to your brand. The difference you possess is the community culture you have created who are able to speak on your behalf.
This is as pertinent to a relatively unknown brand like The Podfather to someone like Honda. Take the time to build profile, your supporters will be there to bail you out - however it is this point that we start to talk about CRM. Looking after your customers is absolutely key to a continued successful social media campaign and maintaining a positive brand profile. Your customers (suppliers and contractors included) are the ones that will bail you out, back you up and provide case studies of where you have succeeded.
Part of your social media campaign has to include a blog (or more and more a Facebook profile) your consultant or team must approach your suppliers and contractors to provide participation - if you look after each other your community will grow stronger and more successfully.
This is the beginning for defending your brand. If you have examples that you are worried about or situations where competitors have suffered get in touch and we'll see where you can avoid or challenge the situation.