Social media is now a major force in today’s society with people of all ages, backgrounds and social groups. Fuchs (2014) explains that now more than ever we need to understand social media and the impact it is having on our lives and how it is such a useful marketing tool if used effectively. Fuchs 2014 book explains that people need crucial knowledge to help us navigate throughout the complex digital media landscape that is now present. This applies also to businesses, especially small businesses, as reputation is a crucial part of business enterprise risk management (Arnold, 2006). A business’ success is based on its reputation by many consumers and is measured by how much it is trusted by consumers, stakeholders and employees. When consumers hear good things about a business they are develop brand trust even before actually experiencing the businesses service. With the introduction of social media such as ‘Twitter’ consumers are able to voice their opinions on companies and brands more openly. Negative reviews on social media towards large businesses/brands are often ignored and disregarded compared to comments regarding smaller business/brands that is not so prominent in the public arena. The effect of a bad reviews/complaints broadcast on social media regarding small business can have highly detrimental effects.
Personal recommendations is an extremely important marketing tool that has the potential to significantly increase the revenue of companies but also has the ability to negatively effect a company’s revenue. However, with the rapid increase in use of the Internet and social media, negative publicity is spread very differently from ‘word-of-mouth’. Consumers are now more than likely maybe even expected to voice their opinions online with big companies notably Tesco and ASOS having twitter accounts to enable unhappy customers to scan for a deal. (See Examples 1 and 2. Below)
Big business such a Tesco and ASOS already have solid reputations and do not necessarily need to go out of their way to fix every single costumer problems but have nevertheless employed teams to do so which shows the importance they place on this.
Small businesses that do not have already set reputations need to manage social media post about their company and effectively respond. Stanford (2007) explains that a 7% increase in word-of-mouth unlocked an additional 1% in additional company growth and 2% reduction in negative word-of-mouth boosts sales growth by 1%. For small businesses growth and reputation is crucial when establishing themselves within the market.
Brynley-Jones’s 2009 article on reputation management using social media goes through the 5 steps needed to be able to fully manage.
Step 1: Decided what of the company’s information you need track and specify key words
Step 2: Set up accounts, which are used to measure social media keywords. The monitoring of social media using specific programs and tools will make it easier for complained or indeed praise to be brought to your attention. This is quick and easy for small business and will not require a lot of time or manpower, which would result in extra costs.
Step 3: The monitoring tools will allow the small companies to then set up alerts telling them when their keywords are mentioned and on what platform.
Step 4: Small businesses will need to set up accounts of where they believe there business will be spoken about and be poised to reposed as soon as possible to clear up any chances of bad publicity.
Step 5: The small business needed to then react to what has been said online whether it is positive or negative it is important
Arnold, M. (2006) CEOs respect importance of reputation, Haymarket Media, Inc, New York.
Brynley-Jones, L. (2009). A 5-Step Guide to Reputation Management Using Social Media | Our Social Times – Social Media Agency, Social Media Training. [online] Oursocialtimes.com. Available at: http://oursocialtimes.com/a-5-step-guide-to-reputation-management-using-social-media/ [Accessed 12 Mar. 2016].
Fuchs, C. (2014). Social media. London: SAGE Publications Ltd.
Stanford, N. (2007). Guide to organisation design. London: Economist.