How to control your brand in social media

Today’s post is more “business-y” than most of the ones prior. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve recently attended SOBCon and my brain is still processing the technology side of what I do for many hours of my day, but my mind keeps ruminating on the mechanics/motivations we use when operating in the digital sphere. Increasingly, I am called to define who Women With Drive Foundation is through the lens of how we appear in the space. As we add more communities to those we serve, we must replicate ourselves across strata in a cohesive manner. The line between brand identity and personal identity gets blurrier every day. In addition, as a whole, brands are morphing into “people,” and individuals are becoming “brands.”

Knowledge of the tools and methods for spreading a message is central to reaching people in the current paradigm of social media. But more than the traditional “push” model of broadcast from an All Knowing and Monolithic Company, understanding the dynamism and reality of a response from The Consumers With Opposable Thumbs and An Opinion is a sticky wicket for most.

Second only to “how much is a social media campaign going to cost?” the question of how to control their brand ranks high on most companies’ list of priorities when it comes to the social space.

The short answer? You can’t.

Just ask McDonald’s. Or Nestlé. Or the unfortunately named BBQ joint, Boners (the last is an amazing deconstruction by Scott Stratten @unmarketing on twitter. NOTE: Some swearing in the screenshots from facebook).

Control also seems to be at the fore of my awareness lately. Perhaps it’s something I need to hear. Regardless, I find that when I write about something, I learn more about the topic at hand through the act of distilling my thoughts and committing them to words.

Control of a brand has increasingly occupied the collective consciousness of companies and businesses everywhere with the advent of social media. Paramount on the list of concerns from companies hesitant to enter the space: “What if someone says something negative about me on my facebook page/on twitter?”

Then they will.

The conversation is happening whether or not you are part of it. Better to understand what is being said and to engage based on where your public is than to remain on the dialogue sidelines. By addressing any comment in a transparent, honest manner, your brand is strengthened and your effectiveness is heightened as a result.

Control always comes back to one thing: we cannot control that which goes on around us. We, as individuals or as brands, can only control that which is within. A common response from me in regards to controlling your brand? “The best defense is a good offense.”

More than just flooding the space with positive information about your brand, the “best offense” in this case is to be crystal clear about who you are as a brand. …Listen to what’s going on before you enter the fray. Are you relevant? Can you add to the discussion? Would you listen to you?

Further, from the janitor to the CEO, your brand has to be saturated with “you-ness.” What do you stand for? If you were a person, who would you be? Can your brand identity be communicated clearly, concisely and with emotion?

The answers to these questions form the foundation of why people buy what you have to sell. They identify with you. They transfer their emotions to your product or service. Your essence is a representative component of who they are as an individual, to a certain extent.

If you, as a business, are secure about your brand, then detractors won’t have any power against it. Anything that shows up in the space that conflicts with what you’ve established your brand to be will fall on deaf ears. The power of social media is about the network. Your public/fans will act as brand advocates against any naysayer.

The control of your brand is within your hands. Tend your own garden. Know thyself. Be secure enough to relinquish control and the power of that confidence transcends detractors. That’s how you control your brand.

What has been successful for you? What have you learned in the social space?


Molly Cantrell-Kraig is a woman with drive. Possessing an innate sense of purpose and a pragmatic, solution-based approach to empowering people, she fused these two traits in order to establish Women With Drive Foundation. Based upon its founder’s personal history, Women With Drive Foundation is a means through which Cantrell-Kraig may effect change on both a micro and macro level. By providing women with something as essential as personal transportation in order to transition them from poverty to prosperity, she, through Women With Drive Foundation, seeks to empower women to help them help themselves. Through this action, the individual applicant benefits, as does society as a whole. Follow Molly on twitter as @mckra1g or @WWDr1ve (Women With Drive Foundation).

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