Importance of Social Media
We all realize the importance of social media in the professional and personal realm in this day and age. It also helps that most the social media outlets are fairly simple to learn and use. After all, it is supposed to appeal to the masses, whether young or old. Millions of people have access to and regularly use channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. for their entertainment needs. This makes it easy for organizations to gather information and feedback from the internet to aid product enhancement. The issue for the organization is now implementing the correct social media strategy in order to effectively use social media to their advantage. With so many readily available channels to reach customers, organizations have relished in this digital movement, as it requires much less effort on their part and the effects of a cause are more easily recognized.
Manage Online Reputation
Although there are many benefits to having a social media presence, organizations must also be careful in their actions because there can be many aspects that occur out of their control. Social media outlets are widespread and can reach the masses fairly quickly, there is also a downfall in that the negativity will also spread quickly. More often than not, bad news travels faster than good news. Managing an organization’s online reputation becomes difficult when a bad opinion or review from a passionate consumer goes viral. At that point, the damage would have been done and no offsetting measure from the company can reverse the damage to their reputation. Social media enables the spread of information much quicker, and sometimes to the disadvantage of the company. For example, a couple years ago, Costco issued a massive recall on dog food because there was the possibility that it could cause dogs to get salmonella. Due to social media outlets, this news spread extremely quickly and many consumers questioned the quality of Costco’s other products as well. It makes you wonder if Costco’s reputation would have been impacted at such a level if consumers weren’t complaining about this issue on their outlet of choice. I know some people who still refuse to buy their dog food from Costco, even if all the other major labels have had recalls in the past, because this one was the most publicized.
Most of the negative reviews I see about a company are actually from Facebook. If a friend of mine on Facebook liked a store on Facebook, news regarding this particular store will show up on my newsfeed, whether it be comments from other consumers, or administrators at the store who wanted to share a coupon. When a certain negative comment gets to be popular, it will be spread around all channels of the internet realm like wildfire. Even if someone has never had a problem with a store’s products or services before, after reading these horrible reviews that so many others seem to agree with, you may question your frequency to that store again. Social media has a large influencing power over its consumers, and organizations need to be very conscientious about their digital footprint.
In order to effectively use social media to manage an organization’s online reputation, the below factors are a must:
- Response time to pertinent matters
- Ease and frequency of communication to consumers
- Overall tone of response
- Benefits to those who are responsive and loyal
I believe the open dialogue and communication that social media enables organizations to have with its consumers benefits the organizations more than the potential damage it could cause though. Just as fast as the bad news spread, social media can enable the company to react just as quickly to try to quell the situation before it goes out of control. There will be bad news about an organization from time to time, but the way the company reacts to that bad news will ultimately distinguish them from the rest.
- Should Companies Implement a Social Media Policy?
(All credit and accolades for this tremendous blog post are for Lily Zhang who is the author and content creator.)