C-suite still disregards value of social media reputation

NEW YORK: Many C-suite executives are not taking their company's reputation on social media into consideration when making business decisions or reacting to an online crisis, according to a study.

NEW YORK: Many C-suite executives are not taking their company's reputation on social media into consideration when making business decisions or reacting to an online crisis, according to a study.

The Zeno Digital Readiness Survey, conducted by Harris Interactive from October 4-11, surveyed 300 corporate executives from companies with annual revenue of $1 billion or more.

Thirty-six percent of the executives said their CEOs do not care, or care little, about the company's reputation in social media.

Mark Shadle, MD of Zeno's corporate practice, said there is an ongoing “tug of war” between corporate communications and brand communications, where corporate executives are struggling to decide whether or not to have a corporate social media presence, as brands tightly control their pages.

Seven out of 10 b-to-c execs said their company's CEOs frequently consider the business' online reputation when making decisions, compared to just 57% b-to-b execs.

Forty-three percent of b-to-b execs said their CEOs largely ignore the company's social media reputation, compared to 30% in the b-to-c space.

When it comes to negative online posts regarding the company, 63% of b-to-c execs think their organizations are prepared to respond within 24 hours, while 45% in b-to-b think they could respond.

The study also revealed that revenue size makes a difference in social media reputation management, with 63% of companies with annual revenue of $10 billion or more saying they would be able to react to a crisis online within 24 hours, compared to 42% of businesses with less than $5 billion in revenue.

Shadle said the data shows PR professionals have to tell executives about the many non-consumer stakeholders online they can engage, such as industry analysts, investors, NGOs, and employees.

“It's an opportunity for communicators to advocate for more recognition of the impact of social media reputation,” he added. “Communicators need to change the social media dashboard and expand from talking to executives about likes and fans to talking about the breadth of stakeholders and communities they are communicating to.”

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