My very first job in NYC was for a public relations research firm. Each quarter, we would advise major companies on how their public relations work performed, and what we suggested they could proactively do in the future to receive more positive sentiment in their media clips. I lucked out and started with an incredibly positive brand as my main client I helped with. Every quarter, this client would come in at a 99 percent positivity rate, 98 percent if they were having a bad quarter. Then, I was handed one of the most negative brands in the world at the time. This brand was lucky to hit a 63 percent positivity rate, and you could bet the remaining 37 percent was ALL negative, with maybe, just maybe, one percent neutral. I immediately started looking at the differences between the two brands. The overly positive, lovely client was proactively participating in many Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives. They attending, and hosted, high profile charity events. They created campaigns around their product that honed in on how socially responsible the products were, or how much of a certain product's profit would go towards charity. Then, when someone negative happened around the brand, it was buried in the wealth of clippings about all the good it was doing in the world. In essence, the brand was constantly making deposits into a positive bank which would cover them any time something negative happened.
So what did we do? We encouraged the negative brand to find ways it could give back to the community, donate cuts of its profit and pair with charitable causes.
The positive bank concept for social media is no different. In fact, I would argue that one of the most important pieces of a social media strategy is opening the positive bank account and setting up weekly 'deposits'. Here are five ways to get started:
Identify Positive Messages
Work with your marketing department, or you might be the marketing department, to determine what positive messages are crucial to your brand for the next year. Now, these are not just any and all messages your brand wants to send over the year. These are the messages that have a very positive angle to them, such as messages around donations your company makes, charities your brand works with, causes you support year-round. If you do not see any of these CSR-related messaging on your marketing calendar, then take the initiative and start identifying ways your brand can become more involved in CSR initiatives.
Schedule out some time to create copy, graphics, videos and one CSR-related hashtag around your positive messages. Make sure the messaging is 'evergreen', meaning it is not specific to any one time or season. Creating content that visually connects, for example, using the same color across all CSR-related content, is also effective. Every time a fan sees that color associated with your brand, their mind will travel to a more positive place.
Schedule Positive Content
Pre-schedule your positive content to go out on at-least a weekly basis. The easiest way to do this is to assign one day a week to CSR-specific content and brand that day with a hashtag. This helps your audience to expect a positive piece of content on that day every week, and helps you ensure you are keeping a rhythm with positive content. As always with pre-scheduled content, if something incredibly negative happens that disrupts your brand, make sure you pause pre-scheduled content for at least that day.
Amp Up Positive Content When Something Negative Occurs
This might seem a little contradictory to what I just previously wrote about pausing content on the day something unusually bad occurs that involves your company. I am not talking about amping up content when there is a tragedy or something very severe, I am talking about amping up positive content when there is a negative conversation occurring about your company and you have an opportunity to disrupt the conversation. Your goal is to make sure positive messaging is popping to the top of Twitter, and other social media networks, when people are searching for your brand --> not the negative conversations others might have started.
You should constantly be looking for opportunities throughout the year for your brand to proactively create positive messaging. If something great happens in April, repurpose it into evergreen content for the rest of the year and throw it into the mix.
The goal of a positive bank account is to create an overall positive perception of your brand in the minds of others, so when something negative does happen, they can draw from that positive perception and hopefully give you the benefit of the doubt. Social media can be a great asset in this department by constantly depositing positive messages into a positive bank account that lives in the perceptions of your audience.
- Marji J. Sherman