We’ve all seen social media portals dominate the online space over the past few years, developing into a mainstream activity for most businesses. It’s become increasingly interesting to witness how this phenomenon continues to effect brand reputations, specifically within the affiliate marketing channel.
With the growing prevalence of social networking as a part of our everyday activities, opinions and brand reputations are often being characterised through the use of these platforms, creating new opportunities in the marketplace. The affiliate space is no exception. Advertisers, agencies, networks, large-scale publishers, and niche bloggers have embraced these alternative communication channels addressing the perennial challenge of how best to engage with their client base.
For numerous brands, social media can act as the perfect catalyst for displaying a strong sense of personality and an open approach. From an affiliate network perspective, we have found the best use of social sites for our brand has been to communicate the latest advertiser promotions, announce new business wins, link to industry news and post relevant topics and insights from our various clients and partners. As Twitter has become our most heavily followed brand extension we’ve found this real-time communication tool to be more effective than traditional methods, such as e-mail.
A common concern is finding a means of controlling your messaging. Audiences have become more empowered and now have a variety of global platforms to share their thoughts and opinions on. Social media has the ability to ignite negative messages among influential and prolific communities of people, spreading at a highly rapid rate. This is where implementing a crisis management strategy becomes crucial. A perfect example of this is the recent debacle with the GAP logo rebrand. An essential rule of thumb is to ensure communication is as constructive as possible and responses are posted in a timely manner. There’s no point in responding to something that happened a week ago as its now old news and your audience will have moved onto something else. Claiming responsibility is also a fundamental factor. If negative comments or threads do arise, sometimes the primary point of contact for your social channels may not be the person best suited to respond, so having strategic guidelines for these instances in advance is key.
It’s important to remember that social media isn’t simply limited to Facebook and Twitter. LinkedIn, for example, has recently introduced a capable new feature for Company Pages to showcase recommendations from individual customers, helping to virally build a brand’s reputation. When LinkedIn members support products or services, their recommendation becomes visible to all of their connections. Companies are then able to promote these suggestions, leading to credible and authentic endorsements of products or services. Incorporating these aspects into your overall marketing mix can help build brand awareness and a strong sense of image and authority within your sector(s).
By endeavouring to use social media in innovative and insightful ways, organisations can gain more exposure within the affiliate marketplace and have the power to solidify their place as an approachable, insightful and interactive brand.