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Sunday, February 10, 2013

5 Scary Social Media Trends

Pity the corporation. In an obdurately unfriendly world, it has to maximize shareholder value.

A little thing like a broken guitar can bust millions in market cap. And batter a reputation as well.

Blame it on social media.

"Social media and the technology behind itWeb 2.0has forever changed how corporations 'manage' reputation," writes Ogilvy PR's John H. Bell in Corporate Reputation in the "Social Age."

The danger, Bell says, lies in "the explosion of consumer-generated media found in more than 150 million blogs, social networks, consumer opinion sites, video and picture sharing networks, and worldwide message boards."

Five big trends affect how corporations manage their reputations today, Bell believes.

Hypertransparency. With 150 million active social media users, there are "thousands of forensic accountants, social watchdogs and activists watching your company," Bell writes.

Viral crises. When a crisis hits, the word spreads quickly, "often with the accompaniment of YouTube videos."

Demand for dialogue. One-way messagingnews releases, robotic spokesmen, TV ads and customer-service scriptsare out. Conversation is in.

Louder brand detractors and employees. Social media well arms the corporate critic. "It doesn’t take a Goliath to become a formidable adversary for a corporate brand," Bell says.

Uncontrollable brand fans. Even happy customers can blacken your name with their online antics. With friends like this, who needs enemies?

Marketers must be authentic and transparent, Bell says, because "conversation is competing and often winning as a communication channel online."

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