More and more reputational crises — such as the recent stranding of the Carnival Triumph cruise ship — are born on social networking platforms and can grow exponentially if mishandled. Consider how Apple Inc. responded to consumer displeasure with the iPhone 4 shortly after its 2010 introduction. Negative comments about the product spread quickly over social media channels, but were largely ignored by Apple executives until mainstream news outlets began reporting on its flaws.
Failing to actively engage social media users in conversations about crisis or business practice of your company means losing an invaluable opportunity to protect your reputation. Otherwise, you risk having other people tell your story.
Social media participation gives you a way to enhance this reputation through regular interaction with customers, business partners and the public. Using this tool to develop relationships and help people, rather than just sell products and services, can create some valuable allies.
Encouraging your employees to participate in social media offers a great way to use them as advocates for your company. A 2012 poll of more than 1,000 registered voters by Hill+Knowlton Strategies found that a corporation’s employees are the second-most trusted source of information about its business practices, second only to friends and family members.