The impact of social media on a company’s reputation: Good…Bad…or Both?

The impact of social media on a company’s reputation: Good…Bad…or Both?

We live in a time that people often refer to as the technology age.  It is common for people to have their noses buried in their phone, tablet or computer as life is happening around them.   These items have become so integrated in our lives and increasingly easier to come by that you’re more likely to be chastised if you don’t have one.  With the prevalence of social media in our everyday lives, we are well aware of how it has integrated in other aspects of our lives.  The influence of social media has spread to politics, civic engagement, and other businesses.  This brings us to an important question: What impact, if any, does social media have on a company’s reputation?

Concisely, I would like to say that it is both.  Social media plays a huge role in the lives of everyone and the same can be said about businesses.  One of the first things that comes to mind is the amount of exposure that a company can generate using social media.  This can be done in several ways.  First, and foremost, social media can serve as a very inexpensive way of advertisement.  Through the usage of Facebook and Twitter, companies can promote their product/services at very little cost to them.  From there, any individual that chooses to follow that company will then be able to link other people of that organization.  The indirect result of this is that the larger the following, the more likely someone will believe that the company is reputable because why would a company have these many followers if it’s not reputable?  Another point to consider is that peer reviews tend to one of the most trusted critiques of a business by having many individuals saying nothing but nice things about a company and its products.

Inversely, this can have a negative effect as well.  When a company receives bad reviews and those are shared over social media, people are less inclined to view the company in a positive light.  Much of this has to do with peoples’ inclination to just believe what they hear or read without verifying things on their own.  Another way that social media can have a negative effect on a company’s reputation is through the actual usage of social media and when that goes wrong.  An example of this was given in a previous case study we discussed in class earlier in the semester about the Kit Kat candy.  When the company was not prepared for the social media response of a report and the person responsible for running the account responded poorly, the company took a hit due to one person’s actions.

As stated, social media can be a benefit or a hindrance to a company’s reputation.  Companyies should be mindful of these things when deciding to have a social media presence or using that to bring attention to the company.

– Williams

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