5 Ways Social Media Can Improve a Poor Company Reputation

Laura Sheptoski
Posted by Laura Sheptoski on February 3, 2014
Close up image of a racon's face in grass looking at the camera

Prior to joining the team at Weidert Group and the world of inbound marketing, I worked for a company that reclaims organic by-products and returns them to the marketplace as reusable ingredients found in a slew of everyday household items. It’s a great company in an incredible industry, doing wonderful things for the environment, but unfortunately, most people only know that the company’s factories tend to produce a less-than-desirable aroma in town.

As you can probably guess, members of the community have a hard time thinking positively about the factory. Over time, the company’s reputation has become engrained in the town culture, and now the company avoids the idea of community engagement. Management insists on staying away from social media out of fear that it would simply provide an outlet for negative comments and bad publicity. They believe it would reduce the company’s reputation to an even worse state, and open up the company to public ridicule. Did I understand this strategy? Yes, but as an employee, I also worried that my company was missing out on a great opportunity to educate the public about the many positives that the business and its industry provides.

The Benefits of Social Media for Building a Better Reputation

As a marketer, I know that the missed benefits for this kind of company far outweigh the advantages of remaining insular. Neglecting to adopt a social media strategy undoubtedly results in some missed opportunities, whether you’re neglecting a personal social media presence or a professional one. Just like someone without any personal social networks misses out on catching up with old friends, a company misses out on key opportunities to connect with and engage its audiences. Here are the undeniable reasons why your brand will benefit from having a social media presence, even if you’re convinced you don’t need one:

1. SEO. It’s no secret that having an active social media presence boosts your search engine rankings and helps Google find your content faster. Your search page ranking temporarily increases each time your content is shared – whether you, your followers or your followers’ followers share that content! Consistently posting to your social networks helps you prove to the world (or at least the internet) that your business is relevant and credible.

2. Your brand’s social media accounts belong to your brand. It may sound silly, but social media identity theft is a real threat. After all, it’s fairly easy (and free) to set up most social media profiles. If your brand doesn’t create and claim its own accounts, what’s to stop someone else from creating a fake account and fooling the public with messages that are tied to your name? The original Coca Cola Facebook page was created by two of the brand’s fans, and although they didn’t send out any negative messages, Coca Cola still didn’t have any say over that content. Become the owner of your social media before someone else does simply because they’re bored (or worse, angry).

3. You can tell your own story. True, you may be a bit nervous to find out what some other users choose to say about your brand, but you can use your social media presence be proactive rather than reactive. You have the power to control your content, to put out the right message and to build and maintain a relationship with your followers. Respond to your critics as quickly as possible and give them an opportunity to become fans instead of foes. Just remember: what happens on the Internet stays on the Internet. Don’t post out of anger or rush a response just for the sake of responding.

Perhaps you remember hearing about Amy’s Baking Company, the Arizona-based restaurant that was featured on an episode of celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares last year. The show exposed some extremely damaging behaviors from the owners of Amy’s Baking Company, which resulted in a fury of comments from all around the World Wide Web. The owners, ripe with emotion, responded quickly on their Facebook page. Though their posts have since been deleted, taking a screen shot of those posts ensured they’ll live on forever in infamy:

Amy's Baking Company facebook posts. Post 1 says:  I AM NOT STUPID ALL OF YOU ARE. YOU JUST DO NOT KNOW GOOD FOOD. IT IS NOT UNCOMMON TO RESELL THINGS WALMART DOES NOT MAKE THEIR ELECTRONICS OR TOYS SO LAY OFF!!!! Post 2 says: You are all little punks. Nothing. you are all nothing. We are laughing at you. All of you, just fools. We have God on our side, you just have your sites.

4. Show your thought leadership. Give your followers as much helpful information as possible so they won’t feel compelled to look for it elsewhere. By harnessing your social networks and regularly contributing relevant information relating to your area of expertise, you’ll become seen as a thought leader instead of looking like a pushy salesperson. Your readers will see you as someone who provides value and insight, rather than just a service or product.

5. You can keep yourself in the know. Once again, one of the greatest benefits of having a social media presence is the ability to be proactive. Make the most out of social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter to look up your company name and see what others are discussing or mentioning about you. Keep yourself in the know and on top of things so you can provide a thoughtful response in real-time or even address internal situations if necessary.

Fortunately, many companies don't emit an aroma that damages their PR before they even get started. Instead, many companies just don't know where to get started. If you'd like a place to start, check out our free eBook below for getting results from your social media marketing efforts.

Use social media to attract visitors to your website

Topics: Social Media

click here to take the state of industrial sales and marketing survey