You have heard that your reputation in business is important but, how important is it? More importantly, how passionate are you about driving a positive experience at every level of your business? And, the burning question I have is – what role does social media play in your businesses effort to manage your reputation?
I know you believe the importance of having a positive reputation is true but, do you LIVE by it? Companies that do are the leaders in their industries in more ways than one. Leading companies that drive the value of reputation at every level of their culture are innovators, good corporate citizens, great employers, customer advocates, and more. Take Narayana Murthy‘s advice, the founder and chairman of Infosys in India.
“If we seek respect from our customers, we will not shortchange them; if we seek respect from our employees, we will treat them with dignity and fairness; if we seek respect from our investors, we will follow the best principles of corporate governance; if we seek respect from our vendor partners, we will be fair with them and sympathetic to them; if we seek respect from the government, we will not violate a single law of the land; and if we seek respect from our society, we will give back to the society.” (source: Forbes.com)
7 Core Reputation Dimensions
With Narayana’s advice in mind, consider that the Reputation Institute tracks global corporate reputations centered around 7 core dimensions and produces an annual report ( available below ) on who’s achieving the best reputation.
- Products & Services
Social Media’s Role
Ok, so how does social media play a critical role in managing and building your business reputation. Take a look at some of these statistics below and you’ll start seeing how social media’s explosive growth plays a significant role in managing your business reputation:
- 75% of people don’t believe that companies tell the truth in advertisements. (Yankelovich)
- Online social network users were three times more likely to trust their peers’ opinions over advertising when making purchase decisions. (“Social Networking Sites: Defining Advertising Opportunities in a Competitive Landscape,” JupiterResearch, March 2007)
- Recommendations from family and friends trump all other consumer touchpoints when it comes to influencing purchases, according to ZenithOptimedia. (AdAge, April, 2008)
- Consumers trust friends above experts when it comes to product recommendations (65% trust friends, 27% trust experts, 8% trust celebrities). (Yankelovich)
- Consumers say that word of mouth is still the number one influencer in their apparel (34.3%) and electronics (44.4%) purchases (Retail Advertising and Marketing Association/BIGresearch Study, November 2008)
- The Trust in Advertising survey of 26,000+ found that Consumer Recommendations are the most credible form of advertising. (“Social Media Marketing: The Right Strategy for Tough Economic Times” Awareness, 2008)
I think it is safe to say the statement made in the headline of this post is FACT! There are moutains of data to back this up. Social media marketing, whether we know it or not, has been part of our consumer driven culture for a long-time – it’s just evolving and becoming more important with our digital connectivity.
It has been called gossip, word-of-mouth, public perception, buzz, etc. No matter what you call it, your business reputation is magnified 10x over with the advent of digital market conversation.
More than ever before brands must enhance the value of their reputation and protect it to mitigate the risk of having a bad reputation and not being recommended. Practicing social media marketing or collaborative conversation requires regular open flow of communication throughout your communities of interest and organization. You also have to realize as a business that this takes time and process. Monitoring your reputation really needs to be a standardized business function.
Social media tools and applications provide companies the capability to manage and enhance their reputation at each of the 7 core dimensions. In some way, shape or another social media will enable you to drive a companies culture centered on strong reputation metrics. And, if your business or organization chooses not to embrace the importance of reputation value management you will soon learn about the road less traveled and it may be too late.
Your organization must LIVE by its Reputation and it must engage in the practice of using social media because your friends, family and the people you trust are. Ah, but don’t just take my word for it =} . The New York Times is telling you how important this is here . ZDNet gives you a different view here . ThomasNet provides yet another perspective here.
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