Lockdown has provided us with many ‘gifts’. Working from home, Zoom and – I think the least-spoken-about – podcasts. My most recent addition to the library, Grounded with Louis Theroux, did strike a chord with me.
In the first episode he discusses reputation; predominantly relating to individuals and social media’s influence. One quote especially stood out:
“Reputation matters a lot. The way untrue things spread, it’s very, very dangerous. We live in a society where reputation means more than anything.”
MORE than anything
In this clip (starts at 42:45), they’re specifically discussing fake news, online trolls and social media algorithms. Ignoring the bullies is a good option, but misinformation, miscommunication and misconceptions can still be detrimental to your reputation.
How many times have you asked or been asked for your opinion about a restaurant, bar, bank, barber, insurance, hotel? Your reputation and what you say, as a business or individual, matters. Staying quiet isn’t an option any longer – you should be seeking to proactively build a stronger reputation, both via your own public communications and by those of your clients and customers.
Angels and demons
Your customers are more than just customers. They’re an angel and devil on either shoulder – singing your praises or heckling your performance.
They don’t just influence your reputation. They define your reputation. After all, reputation is in the eye of the beholder.
Of course, you can influence their experience with good service, great products and helpful communications, but you can never tell them what to think.
Having a voice
Communicating with your customers and clients is a dialogue. Having a voice is important, but using a megaphone is not.
Using your voice to inspire and provide insight and expertise will inform your reputation and don’t forget to listen as much as you speak to ensure you are talking about the right things – things your clients or customers value.
Being a target
At some point, your reputation may well take a hit due to misinformation. The key to managing this situation and recovering well is to keep communicating. Rumours have a habit of spiralling out of control. Better to ensure everyone has the facts than leave the trolls to make up their own. Leaving your stakeholders rudderless is a disaster waiting to happen.
The first step to protecting your reputation is to acknowledge an issue, identify the key priorities and communicate how you are taking steps to resolve it.
The United Airlines incident a few years ago is a textbook example of this. The incident itself wasn’t positive for the brand to say the least but rumours, poor communication quality and mixed messaging made the issue drag out and further damage their reputation. Read more about the issue here.
Informing or being informed
Misinformation occurs daily, especially with the ongoing global pandemic. Social media platforms are increasingly feeling the pressure to clamp down on the tornado of wrongful information sweeping vulnerable users.
Research by Avaaz, which analysed a sample of Facebook content containing misinformation, found that the content was shared more than 1.7 million times and viewed an estimated 117 million times. That’s the population of France…x2.
Steps are being taken by Facebook and the other big social firms. Donald Trump has featured in the news more than once for claims he has made on social media that have been labelled as misinformation or, to use his language, ‘fake news’. This isn’t just a global issue either, this happens locally. Most recently with Covid rumours taking Guernsey WhatsApp groups by storm.
We are aware of rumours on social media that there is a confirmed case of community seeding on Island which has resulted in people contacting Public Health with their concerns. We can confirm that no positive cases have been identified in the last 48 hours in the Bailiwick. pic.twitter.com/MlSuAW8ebl
— States of Guernsey (@Govgg) September 29, 2020
To sum up, fake news, social media and word of mouth can all hinder your reputation. The only way to survive it is to get on top of it. Clear, timely and helpful communications can help you do that.
At Orchard we give our clients a voice, if you want to learn how to use yours contact us at 01481 251 251, [email protected]