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Social media is at its most useful when it engages its audience in the correct manner, encouraging them to come back and share content. However, brands must aim to understand and respect their audience before looking to target specific groups through online channels. Social networks offer brands a suitable avenue to follow in the pursuit of engaging with fans and increasing visibility, but without a proper understanding of the correct manner in which to target potential fans and followers, brands are more than likely to see their strategy fail.

Brands looking to command respect from their social media fan base can follow a few basic pointers when it comes to styling a suitable strategy. These points include:

• Don’t lie – Refrain from making up information or lying to your followers as a means of increasing engagement and fan numbers. If current and potential followers find out you lied, this will have a detrimental effect on your campaign.

• Don’t gossip – No matter who the subject, whether competitors or fans, don’t look to gossip through a brand’s online guise. This will online lead to a negative reaction from the online community.

• Don’t insult – As with the above comment, a brand should never look to insult anyone through its online channels. As with gossiping, insults will only lead to negative reports across digital news channels and will therefore represent the brand in a bad light.

• Appropriate tone-of-voice – Whilst what a brand is saying may be suitable for its audience, the manner in which it is said is key in ensuring fans are happy to continue following the brand. A poor or ill-mannered tone of voice could easily turn of potential followers, no matter what the information is held within the post.

A brand must look to follow these basic rules when executing its social media strategy to ensure it receives respect from its target audience. Whilst tailoring a strategy to specific audiences is important, if a brand can’t command respect from its target online audience in the first instance, the strategy is doomed to failure. Online reputation management is a key element of any social media strategy, and if handled poorly brands are likely to see detrimental knock-on effects of their social outreach programme.


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