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By now I am sure you’ve all heard about the Southwest Air/Kevin Smith debacle. People, who are brand evangelists of both brands, have risen up, supported & defended the brand, and have moved on from the topic. I don’t bring it up to start a ‘They Said/He Said’ debate, but to look at, with your help!, the marketing, communications and brand implications of being a social company. 

If your organization has chosen to use social media as a method of communicating with your customers, prospects, vendors, fans, friends, followers, etc. you need to ask yourself the following questions: 



  • Are we social with our marketing and/or communications team? What about customer service, HR, product development, etc?


  • If we have industry or corporate policies to adhere to, are we doing so consistently?


  • How are we training are employees on social media? Are we consistent with training all employees, all the time? Do they know that one action could potentially set off a social media firestorm?


  • What are the policies for addressing everyone who complains or makes a snide remark about the organization or its brands? Do address or ignore? If addressed them, how does that strengthen (or weaken) our position and/or use of social media?


  • How do our disintegrated (i.e. non-integrated marketing communications) messages backfire on us? Especially in today’s world of real-time customer voices?


  • What makes a crisis situation for us? Is it one bad tweet, blog post, podcast? Or is it when it hits the national media? 


  • Do we have brand evangelists? If not, why? If so, how can we harness their affinity better? Do we know they'll be in our corner?


There are more questions than answers for some organizations. What would you add? And, more importantly, what advice would you offer to social organizations or those looking to jump into the social media waters?

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
image of Beth Harte

Beth Harte is a marketer, blogger, speaker, communicator, thinker, connector (people & dots), adjunct marketing & PR professor and Director of Marketing at Advent Global Solutions.

Beth has over 15 years of experience in integrated marketing communications, strategic planning, branding, SEO/SEM and five years of experience with social media. Beth speaks on a range of topics including: integrated marketing and communications, public relations, brand monitoring and management, social media measurement & ROI.

Beth's blog, The Harte of Marketing is featured in AdAge's Power 150, a globally recognized ranking of top media and marketing blogs and the MarketingProfs' Daily Fix blog.

You can find Beth here too: Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Beth also digs smart people, brilliance, history, the arts, culture, books (historical fiction & business), politics, travel, beer, and cowgirl boots.