Warren Buffett said it well,
‘It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently’.
If we look at the world today in which businesses now operate, realistically that’s the time it can take for a tweet, post, news or video to go viral.
In previous posts on State of Digital I’ve talked about the risks associated with the use of review based websites which might impact your business or even the dangers associated with live streaming apps and how Online Reputation training for personal, professional and organisational use is key.
It’s now interesting to see that AIG, the Global Insurance Corporation (88 million customers in 130 countries) is underwriting a new online reputation insurance product for businesses, aimed particularly at SMEs. The new product, which will be available to Irish Businesses, will allow them to avail of insurance protection against the risks of social media and other online crisis.
It’s not big news that ‘negative sentiment towards a business on social media can have a serious and long lasting effect on its bottom line’ as Irish gift voucher supplier One4All found in 2013. With more and more businesses using social media and platforms such as Facebook and Twitter – around 64% according to Eurostat, it’s no surprise that a recent survey by the Marketing Institute of Ireland & Edelman reported one in 10 Irish businesses had had a social media crisis in the last year and a fifth said they were unprepared to deal with it.
Their survey also highlighted that despite the increasing amount of online issues, 82% of Irish marketers surveyed ‘had not undertaken any social media crisis training in the last year’ and 40% ‘don’t have any social media guidelines for employees’ – an area covered in my previous post.
As I predicted in 2013 the importance of video cannot be underestimated, similarly ‘real time’ marketing and it’s heartening to see that 97% of Irish business’s intend to use video more in 2016, and that 60% are already engaging in real-time marketing.
As businesses we can get caught up in the process of pushing out as much content via social media channels as we possibly can. We can forget social media works best as a 2 way street, to keep an eye on public reactions to our content and fail to monitor the interactions our audiences are having with messaging we create. With the growth of social media platforms, the two areas of monitoring and staff training are vital for business and brands.
It’s happening already. Maybe you just don’t know it – someone is saying something damaging about your business or your brand – and a customer who has had what they perceive as a negative experience can quickly turn into an enemy. By monitoring your business or brands reputation on the web and social media you should be able to identify and address any areas of concern and take appropriate steps. There are plenty of tools available – many of them free! to help you monitor your brand on social media:
- Talk Walker Alerts
- Social Mention
On a positive note, monitoring of social media and web results also helps you identify any influencers’ who are fans of your business or your brand and may potentially be able to assist you in getting access to a larger audience – i.e. your tribe.
In short, your business needs to invest in it.
Everyone within a business or organisation needs to be aware of their personal, professional and organisational Online Reputation. Ultimately, what staff and stakeholders post and share online can and will impact the reputation of the brand or organisation they work for.
‘A business’s reputation is its greatest yet most intangible asset… One comment or video clip distributed through social media can destroy everything’
Declan Kavanagh MD – RiskEye
While having a robust and regularly updated social media policy in place is important, staff need to read it, understand it and then feel responsible and accountable to follow it. Procedures should be in place with your HR department to implement the policy throughout the organisation. It only takes one uninformed member of staff to post one ill thought out comment.. Creating a training programme around this huge topic would be recommended. It cant just be a tick box exercise.
Here’s my Top 3 Tips for an Organisational Training Programme on Social Media
- Assessing the level of information staff have on the benefits and risks and their practical knowledge is a good place to start. You may want to split training to accommodate the non starters and beginners from the more informed social media users who could be very valuable to your organisation. This will ensure you can pitch the sessions appropriately to engage your staff audiences, minimising confusion and/or boredom. The former you’ll hope will become informed and competent, the latter’s interest in social media can be maximised to influence your market and build your tribe with relevant, useful and creative positive content. Their programme should include various aspects of digital intelligence such as giving a good account personally and professionally online, reputation, privacy, basic online legislation and brand voice consistency.
- The world of social media moves fast. A continuous flow of information may be necessary (platform privacy updates and new legislation are important for all) and ongoing training is necessary. The depth and frequency depends on how integral individual staff are to your organisations public profile and the impact their personal profiles could have on the organisation’s reputation . Frequently educating key staff or those who show a creative flair online is money well spent.
- While getting experts in to motivate and educate is preferable, designing your own programme can also be effective. Use real life examples of online faux pas, plenty of relevant imagery, interesting videos and reinforce strong positive messaging. Above all make it memorable and ensure the delivery is credible.
Investing in training that motivates, energises and informs your staff to dig deeper into the benefits of connecting online, to build engagement, trust and influence for the organisation and a deeper understanding of the internet and social media limitless possibilities is key in today’s business world. As in all areas of education on online risk, it makes sense that promoting positive and responsible use within the workplace on social media should organically minimise misuse and risk and ultimately grow your community.