This week in #bufferchat, we discussed the steps for aligning reputation and brand and managing both. Along with our expert guest, Aaron Friedman, we talked about how to perceive your company’s reputation, the differences between proactive and reactive brand building, what to do when your company’s reputation and brand are out of alignment, and much more!

Read on to discover all of the awesome ideas and thoughts that were shared during the chat!

Catch our weekly Twitter chat, #bufferchat, at TWO times every Wednesday for valuable industry insights and networking with nearly 400 other smart marketers and community managers. Same topic, same place, just at different times – feel free to join in to whichever chat time works best for you!

For our community in Asia and Australia (or anyone in other timezones that like this time the best!): 4 pm AEDT (Sydney time)

For our community in North/South America, Europe and Africa (or others!): 9 am PT (San Francisco time)

Bufferchat on November 2, 2016: Topic = Aligning Reputation & Brand

This week’s stats:
1st Bufferchat: 94 participants; 271 tweets; reach of 868,909
2nd Bufferchat: 317 participants; 1,968 tweets; reach of 1,721,075

Q1: How do you know if your brand message is clear?

From Aaron:

  • Well, thats a super broad question. I guess you know if you are getting the “attention” you want.
  • Meaning,are you targeting the right audience? Driving business? Are people responding well?
  • Or are you just getting a lot of people asking if you do XYZ and the audience is confused?
  • You sort of should understand why someone is connecting with you. It should make sense based on your messaging.

From the community:

  • “Clear brand message = Your customers/clients/prospects are saying the things about you that you want to hear.” @martinlieberman
  • “If the responses you receive are the kind you were looking for, then you can assume your message was clear.” @jchapstk
  • “If your audience can recognize your work without explicitly putting a logo on it. that’s really good branding.” @crafticland
  • “Your message is clear when people are coming to you for guidance and service instead of with misunderstanding and error.” @MktgInnovator
  • “One way can tell that your brand message is clear is when UGC on #socialmedia reflects your intended brand values.” @luckylou

See all the great answers to question 1 here!

Q2: How can you better understand how others perceive your online reputation?

From Aaron:

  • First of all, part of this is intuitive. The same way you take social cues in real life, those exist online.
  • Pay attention to how people interact with you or talk about you online. What they say about you or don’t say means a lot.
  • Then, keep tweaking your message until you get the results you want. And after that, keep improve more. Never stop.
  • A stale neutral reputation is not something to strive for. Strive for greatness and strive to keep being better.
  • I’m loving that lots of these answers have to do with listening

From the community:

  • “The kind of UGC you get can be a great indication of how your audience perceives your brand & what’s valuable to them about it.” @Brandfolder
  • “The way people respond to you – whether they take you seriously, treat you like an authority, etc.” @NataliePalombi
  • “Pay attention to the reactions & responses you get and listen to each comment. The info is there. You need to listen.” @erica_hayton
  • “Ask! Send out consumer, community, and audience surveys. Or, do a simple search of your brand name.” @Anne_E_Mercer
  • “Social listening tells you what people think (or don’t think.) Measuring engagement and analyzing the questions people ask.” @TalentExch_Biz

See all the great answers to question 2 here!

Q3: What can “proactive” brand building look like, as opposed to reactive brand building?

From Aaron:

  • Proactive is an advanced form of reactive in some sense, but it’s the good kind.
  • Getting your brand positioned well online serves 2 purposes, both equally important.
  • 1) It tells your story so you are in control of your message.
  • 2) Prevents others from putting up information about you that you don’t control.
  • Proactive is also based on community and wanting to be better.

From the community:

  • “Pro-active, you have control & decide your brand identity; reactive, you can only react after others have built opinions.” @TrafficJamSarah
  • “Proactive brands have a solution before there’s a problem. Reactive brands have problems because there’s no solution.” @SearcySledge
  • “Proactive is boldly putting your brand out there, real and honest, build on failing, “earning” trust.” @ZalkaB
  • “Proactive brand building is rife with risks, many choose to be reactive in an effort to stay safe.” @ideabloke
  • “Engagement of audience with their problem [and] solution in a creative way is proactive [vs] solving problem after complaint.”  @PSD311

See all the great answers to question 3 here!

Q4: What can you do if your reputation is not aligning with your personal or company’s desired brand?

From Aaron:

  • Change it! Try to understand what about it isn’t aligned and work to better align them.
  • I.e. does social say something different than your website, which is different than your marketing collateral?
  • Once you know that, it shouldn’t be hard to get everything lined up.

From the community:

  • “Consider why your reputation could be changing & share content consistent w/ your brand message to get back on track.” @kellyalovell
  • “Reassess the premise. Often times, the foundation is shaky and brands still keep building houses on it.” @SipBlackdotNET
  • “Remember your “why.” Stop doing things that detract from your brand’s message or don’t align with your mission statement.” @KymWrites
  • “Don’t go with what is popular just because it is popular. Go with what is YOU!!” @kjaymiller
  • “Are you being consistent across all your channels? Is your tone/image different everywhere? Consistency is key.” @winniegiang

See all the great answers to question 4 here!

Q5: Do you think it’s possible to prepare your brand’s reputation? As a brand, is this under your control?

From Aaron:

  • It’s not just possible to prepare your brand’s reputation, it’s the only way. Brand reputations aren’t an accident.
  • Your brand reputation is usually because of something you did or did not do right.
  • Obviously there are situations out of your control. You need to anticipate & understand what shows up for your brand online.
  • Audit competitors, analyze conversations. Decide what steps you will have to do to make it the way you want.

From the community:

  • “You can prep all you want but you can’t control everything. Remember that or else you may set unrealistic expectations.” @KristeenWrites
  • “You can frame the conversation but it’s just as important to adapt. The world is vast, you never know who’ll love your brand.” @ksschout
  • “Yes remember you are representing your brand – 24/7. You have control over what you put out and how you respond to others.” @Leader2501
  • “Not 100% but you have some control. You can prepare. Set values & goals. Maintain the relationship you want with fans.” @hellobrittnee
  • “When it comes to voice or personality, you can prepare all you want. Your reputation, however, that’s up to your customers.” @HeyOrca

See all the great answers to question 5 here!

Q6: How difficult is it to erase something negative once it’s online?

From Aaron:

  • Erasing negative content is hard, & often not worth the trouble. But pushing it down is very possible.
  • By creating positive information and identifying ways to promote it online.
  • That said, sometimes with some savvy social engineering, you can get it removed, and it can be super effective 🙂
  • Everyone seems to think it’s not possible. It is. It’s just difficult and not always the best way, leading to more problems.

From the community:

  • “Once it’s online it’s indelible. However, your response to negative content can make the bad press irrelevant.” @MischievousMal
  • “A negative experience is an opportunity to build a deeper bond with your audience, make it a good one.” @TheLocusLotus
  • “Just don’t. It’s better if you apologize & try to fix it. Be humble & human about the whole thing – people make mistakes.” @nickieva
  • “Instead of wasting your resources in doing that, find out why that happened, address the problem with patience.” @ajayprasad_
  • “Brand reputation isn’t about “erasing” negativity; it’s about responding in a way that shows you embrace all feedback.” @modsquad

See all the great answers to question 6 here!

Q7: Does brand reputation impact levels of engagement? If so, how?

From Aaron:

  • I think it does impact levels of engagement, which could obviously be a bad thing too.
  • When your audience values you, engagement can be great fun and positive.
  • But when your audience is pissed at you for chopping down a rainforest, that tends to drive lots more of engagement.
  • Moral of the story is, don’t chop down rain forests.
  • SUMMARY: If I had to sum up this #bufferchat it would be: Listen, be genuine, Monitor, set building blocks.

From the community:

  • “Exciting, lively, trusted brands are coveted by consumers Everyone wants to engage w/ the cool kid on the block. :)” @GallowsHumor7
  • “If you have a negative rep. you might have high levels of BAD engagement which is far worse than no engagement.” @lavidgeco
  • “Personally, if i have a negative experience with a brand, I want the world to know.” @natis1604
  • “NO! You can have engagement without a good reputation!” @BRAVOMedia1
  • “Yes! Good Reputation = Happy Engagement. A Bad Reputation = 10x more engagement from the public…it’s not positive though.” @_Jason_Michael

See all the great answers to question 7 here!


Thank you so much to Aaron for taking the time to share so many awesome insights, and to everyone who participated in this chat!

Do you have any comments or answers to these questions? Leave your thoughts in the comments! We’d love to hear from you!

Image sources: UnSplash

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Written by Arielle Tannenbaum

Community Strategist at Buffer. In addition to her love of community building, Arielle also loves vegetables, cooking, practicing yoga, meditating, living mindfully, and exploring the connections between health and happiness!

  • Joshua Allen

    I love this post but just a tip… you should really write longer articles. I hear it helps a lot with getting new visitors. And I think your writing style would keep people really interested in what you had to say about all of this