The Ipsos Mori Reputation Council’s 2011 report reveals that only 59% of communications directors formally review what is being said about their companies’ brand on social media channels in 2011, down from 73% in 2010. In fact, when asked to what extent they actively engage with stakeholders through social media channels, 41% responded “not very much.”
If these numbers alarm you, you’re not alone.
As Jonathan Kopp, global director of Ketchum Digital, says, “If these numbers are right, companies could find themselves more at risk of taking a serious reputational hit.” Drawing from his and Ketchum’s experience with enterprise social media, Kopp suggests a couple best practices that companies should keep in mind:
Social media users expect companies to do more than merely show up. ‘They have to engage their audiences and provide constructive value to the conversation,” says Kopp. "More and more, engagement requires visual storytelling — from photos to infographics to video — to stimulate conversation across the social Web."
It's a lot harder to make friends when you're back on your heels. "When a potential crisis does arise, having a baseline level of existing engagement with a core group of fans, friends or followers will significantly increase a company's ability to respond effectively,” says Kopp.
However, it might not be necessarily all bad news. According to Kopp, “These findings might suggest that social media engagement is become less siloed in the communications department and more integrated and democratized across organizations. If so, that would be a good thing. Social media engagement shouldn't be owned by one department, but with the proper training and structure, should be distributed across a broad swath of employees. Social media users don't want to engage with a company, they want to engage with its people.”
And there might be some truth to what Kopp is saying, as the same report also noted that 95% thought that reputation management made a clear contribution to competitive performance, and nearly half admitted to having clearly defined social media strategies in place. The sizeable disparity between these numbers and the others do seem to agree with what Kopp thinks might be a possibility.
What are your thoughts?