Seventy-four per cent of board members believe that reputational damage is the most concerning repercussion of an incident, according to research from the Economic Intelligence Unit. Regardless of your organisation’s size, your reputation, which is intrinsically linked to your brand, is a precious commodity that is just as important to bolster and protect as your goods and services. Those tasks are made both infinitely easier and more difficult with social media.
As a tool, social media connects your organisation to potential customers around the world. Yet, it can also allow the public to just as easily tarnish your reputation by sharing an ill-conceived or objectionable business decision or action taken by one of your employees. What’s more is that the potential damage that social media can cause is just not immediate, but can linger on for years as an indelible blemish on your organisation’s reputation. For example, Sainsbury’s experienced social media backlash after a poster encouraging employees to get customers to spend 50 pence more was accidentally posted in a shop window rather than the staff room in 2014. A picture of the poster was then tweeted, causing social media outrage. Although reputation loss is difficult to quantify in terms of loss of potential revenue and customers, it is surely felt, and the brand will always bear that mark of scandal. (more…)