Is your company ready for social media criticism?

A vast majority of CEOs agree that a company’s corporate reputation is more important today than it was five years ago. New technology and social networks are reshaping the landscape of how society convenes and campaigns on critical issues.

So you would expect those CEOs would be mindful of the importance of being ready for an unexpected problem online.  But a recent study shows that 72% of companies that have been subject to social media criticism however strong (ranging from a single complaint to a full-scale campaign) rated their preparedness as average or below, with 20% being completely unprepared, according to a July 2012 report by Ethical Corporation and Useful Social Media. Just 15% of companies reported that they were fully engaged with the problem.

This finding follows from research showing that social media users believe that companies are out of step in their use of the social tools. In fact, according to a Allstate/National Journal report from June, 64% of these users want to see an increase in companies using social media to respond to questions and complaints. 73% believe that companies use it chiefly for advertising.

What should those CEOs being doing to ready their companies?

Bottom line — prepare, adapt, respond and take ownership.  Don’t be like the 72% who talk a good game but aren’t ready to respond in the heat of the moment.

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5 comments on “Is your company ready for social media criticism?

  1. Drew Frey says:

    This is kind of crazy isn’t it? I mean, 20% of CEO’s feel completely unprepared!

    Thanks for the tips Drew. It’s so important to be ready for anything…especially when sh*t hits the fan.


    1. Drew — unfortunately, most companies don’t worry about getting prepared until it’s one crisis too late.


  2. Great points you’ve got there! I think that while social media is a platform that is continually evolving, having a plan how to address an issue is still a priority for companies.

  3. Addy Johnson says:

    John is right social media is growing and it is evolving. Based on that is continuously changing so we need to keep our self updating.

  4. I agree that it’s lame when massive companies think they can eliminate their corporate-speak and become human just by throwing a bunch of emoticons, exclamation points and infographs on a few FB pages and Twitter feeds. The true culture of a company is rarely masked and social media provides us with a level of exposure (for both people and businesses) that makes it easier than ever for us to see what’s at the core. So, we can usually tell when somebody’s faking it.

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