No Trix, No Games with James Biley

From countries, governments, industry private and commercial through travel, leisure, finance, investment and more, we all have and are prepared to share our opinions. If we fly with a particular airline, stay in a certain hotel or simply make a purchase from a retailer our personal experience matters. Managing the reputation of any brand, however, large or small also matters - hugely. What's more, we're often not fully in control of that reputation and sometimes not at all. We rely on people having a wonderful experience in the hope they recommend to their friends and we certainly rely on them providing true and accurate facts about the service they received. We should be ok if we just run with that, shouldn't we?

Well obviously no, I say obviously but you'd be surprised just how many organisations do just that. Now, with review sites for almost everything we do these days you'd be forgiven for unknowingly forming an opinion about any place, product or service - or even individual come to that, because that's the reputation that precedes them. Companies can spend a small fortune on promotion or a product launch but just one bad news story could spell disaster.

So what can you do?

The answer is... Quite a lot actually in today's world! You see before and even now a journalist reporting on any story will have an angle. The newspaper or magazine will have an audience and they need to appeal. Their readership and advertisers depend on it. Plus let's face it sensational journalism is far more interesting and with some slight tweaks it can make for a far more dramatic story! The bigger the story the bigger the interest, the bigger the interest the bigger the reach. And if you really want to spice up your life just add a celebrity, then watch what happens! So what do celebrities do to manage their reputation?

No stranger to column inches @VictoriaBeckham recently told Tom Stichbury for METRO that social media has helped her shake off an unwanted persona. 'I can choose the media I put out there - hopefully people see the real me through that ' she said, and with 10.7 million twitter followers and a further 12.6 million on instagram she certainly has the power to do just that. But don't worry if you don't think you have that reach, just because someone isn't following you it doesn't mean they don't see what you share.

Being able to control our content makes social media the best place for any brand to set the record straight. Unlike other media there are no third party influencers in play. It's just you connecting directly with your customers. Saying what you want to say, when you want to say it.

Facebook and Twitter both became available to users worldwide around 2006, Instagram around 2010 and it really gained momentum across 2012-14. What's perhaps more important is that today we don't have to rely on the next news article to run, or the next edition to be available. Social media is now, it's instant and it's accessible to a worldwide audience.

Whatever the situation, with the ability to react quickly, social media offers damage limitation and the ability to challenge consumer perceptions. You build a following of individuals and organisations who with careful content management can understand, trust and believe in what you say and do. You also benefit from the best market research ever, seeing first hand what your customers say about you in real time and with the ability to respond and assist.

Managed well Social Media really does make a difference - @willyoung the Strictly statement, @SamsungMobile the Galaxy Note7 statement and clearly in control and yet to break her social silence since 'that incident' on October 2nd @KimKardashian's 48.4 M twitter audience wait with anticipation...

So remember, you have the control and can remain in control. So don't let your head go just keep calm and tweet on...

James Biley is the Marketing & Communications Director for Countrywide Estate ManagementGranville & Company and HLM.

The #BeMoreSocial column was created for Flat Living and its goal is to drive more effective communication within the property management industry. 

If you have a customer service experience using any form of marketing or social media that you’d like to share then tweet @JamesBiley and @FlatLivingLoves using the #BeMoreSocial.