The main point we’re most likely evaluating when we note the brand name behind a post is our perception of that brand’s reputation. Social media’s role in brand reputation Since for many consumers, social media is one of the primary means by which they encounter brands and their messages, it follows that social media has an important role in shaping brand reputation. Therefore, it’s not just the content of posts that helps with reputation maintenance and enhancement but also how a business handles conversations with consumers in the comments and replies to those posts. But how does online reputation actually work? The six dimensions of RQ are: Products and services. Products and services As with all six of the Reputation Quotient dimensions, social media can’t do much unless there is already some positive substance with which it can work. But publicizing positive things about your company’s workplace can also be a component of reputation enhancement in the eyes of customers and prospects. To promote your positive and beneficial work environment on social media, don’t shy away from posting about things like: Improvements to company policies. One way to do this is by encouraging the heads of your company to become online thought leaders, regularly publishing insightful content or even interacting via social media. How have you used any of these six dimensions to enhance the reputation of your brand in social media?
When a brand post comes up in one of your social feeds, what’s the first thing you notice? It’s probably the image or video, but where do your eyes go next? If you’re like me, I’m betting it’s to the name of the company sponsoring the post. In fact, that’s often the first thing I look at.
Why? My guess would be that we automatically put brand posts through a tougher vetting process than we do posts from our friends. We are more resistant because we know these posts have a specific ultimate motivation: to part us from some of our hard-earned money. So we take note of the company name to help us decide whether we are going to give this content any of our valuable time.
The main point we’re most likely evaluating when we note the brand name behind a post is our perception of that brand’s reputation. Is this a brand we trust? Have they proven to provide accurate, useful information? Are their claims credible? Are they worth even a few seconds of my time?
Social media’s role in brand reputation
Since for many consumers, social media is one of the primary means by which they encounter brands and their messages, it follows that social media has an important role in shaping brand reputation. A business’s social media posts are an opportunity to emphasize those things that people find most commendable and relatable about a brand, and also to help to counter any negative perceptions that may exist.
Of all the media and outlets through which people learn about brands, social media is the most interactive. It is the easiest place for people to interact with businesses, and social media users have shown themselves to be anything but shy about doing so! Therefore, it’s not just the content of posts that helps with reputation maintenance and enhancement but also how a business handles conversations with consumers in the comments and replies to those posts.
So, good social monitoring is essential to online brand reputation management. Do you regularly check notifications for all your social networks? Do you make use of any social listening tools to catch mentions of your brand outside of your own posts? Those are just the basics of social monitoring. The real work of brand reputation management doesn’t begin until you start regularly and quickly responding to those comments and mentions and learn how to do so in positive ways that don’t hurt your brand.
Understanding the dimensions of online reputation
We’ve established that your brand’s reputation is critical and that social media has a frontline role in establishing and enhancing that reputation. But how does online reputation actually work? What are the factors of reputation that people use in evaluating a brand, whether consciously or subconsciously?
There are different ways to answer those questions, but an approach that I’ve found very useful is the Reputation Quotient (RQ) developed by the Harris Poll. The RQ is “designed to understand how a company is perceived in modern culture” rather than evaluating it in a vacuum.
First, the RQ conducts surveys to determine the most visible brands online, whether for good or bad reasons. In other words, these are the companies that are most likely to come to consumers’ minds because of the reputation they have formed in those consumers’ minds.
The brands that surface from that survey are then evaluated according to six dimensions of reputation. The six dimensions of RQ are:
- Products and services.
- Emotional appeal.
- Workplace environment.
- Financial performance.
- Vision and leadership.
- Social responsibility.
In the remainder of this post, I will explore each of those dimensions in light of how you can use social media to build a better reputation in that area. The companies with the highest positive consumer reputations score well in all six dimensions.
You should use this framework to evaluate where your social media campaigns are both strong and weak in terms of reputation management, and then think through how you can work harder at the weak dimensions and capitalize more on the ones where you are already doing well.
The six dimensions applied
1. Products and services
As with all six of the Reputation Quotient dimensions, social media can’t do much unless there is already some positive substance with which it can work. That is, social media can’t make up for any real, substantive lack or weakness in that area within the company. In this case, if the general perception is that your products or services are inferior, then glowing social promotions will be met with mostly derision and negativity.
So the prerequisite for social media reputation-building in this dimension is simple: Strive to provide good value and quality with your products and services. Of course, that’s something typically beyond the scope of most social media teams.
That being said, if your company has something of a bad reputation for what it offers, your social media can provide some help climbing back up to a better place while you’re working to improve what people dislike.
One way we’ve seen companies like this — those that had inferior offerings that they were trying to improve — make use of social media is through embracing radical transparency. Radical transparency means not only not hiding your deficiencies on social media, but being proactive in acknowledging and discussing them, noting. of course, what measures you’re taking to improve quality or performance.
An example of radical transparency consistently applied in…