February 17, 2012 1 Comment
Last summer, we measured the nature of social engagement by top French companies listed on the CAC40 to determine whether corporate communications were a part of the mix. The results were slightly underwhelming, with only 2 daily tweets and 1 Facebook weekly update from corporate accounts on average and very little discussion about corporate and reputation-driving topics.
Later that year, I wrote a post explaining why focusing on brand could be damaging to corporate reputation. But could this all be changing ?
3 reasons corporate communications could be gaining social foothold
First of all, Social Media has come of age. According to recent research by the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, Facebook and Linkedin are now considered the most effective (and used) tools by Inc500 companies and users of social media are reporting a record levels of success.
The improvement in that feeling of success is slight but real. But more importantly, the goals set for social media engagement by these fast growing companies are revealing, the top 3 being :
- Brand awareness: 90%
- Company reputation: 90%
- Web traffic: 88%
Secondly, and looking at it from another angle, Edelman’s 2012 Trust Barometer reveals that although general trust in business is on the decline (mainly because of major distrust in financial institutions) two other indicators bring some optimism:
- Trust in Social Media and corporate channels as sources of information is making significant progress at +75% and +23% respectively (albeit still at rather low levels)
- Trust in CEOs is (still) extremely low. But both company employees and company experts occupy top rigs on the trust ladder. Proof, if any more was needed, that businesses must use their employees and internal experts as social ambassadors (and more importantly, that companies doing so are reaping huge benefits).
Finally, a sign of the (social corporate) times is that more and more companies are publishing utterly corporate documents such as annual reports and CSR reports to new channels such as tablets and are encouraging social sharing by readers (see for instant the Electrolux Financial Reports page).
The road ahead
If corporate communications aren’t gaining on social media in most organizations, they should be:
- Corporate reputation is a company’s strongest immaterial asset.
- Companies have unlimited access to some of the most trusted sources of information to do their social reputation management work for them : their own employees.
One last thing: If theory isn’t good enough, facts may help convince the reluctant. In the 2012 Harris Poll RQ study of coporate reputation, the top 5 positions are held by Apple, Google, Coca-Cola, Amazon.com and Kraft Foods. All extremely social companies, 3 of which having pushed out more ‘traditionally minded’ groups.
Is your company is discussing corporate issues with its social communities, yet?