STUDY: Social Media Amplifies Companies’ Mistakes

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In what might seem like one of the least surprising findings in recent memory, a study published by MSLGroup found that bad behavior and messaging mistakes are amplified by social media.

Some stats from the survey of senior comms professionals in the EMEA region, as posted on the UK blog The Drum:

  • 74 percent of companies have seen their communications strategies change since the advent of social
  • 85 percent say social has increased the reputational affects of mistakes
  • 77 percent think that empowering team members as “brand advocates” would be helpful
  • But 75 percent worry about losing control of the message if they do so

You’ll love MSL’s solution to these challenges: either build a more robust internal digital comms team or hire an outside firm.

“…we see most companies adapting their teams or appointing external agencies to handle the bulk of social and digital communications in tandem with their internal teams.”

Of course, this requires strict internal guidelines. Here’s quote from a brand you know:

“All LEGO employees communicating with consumers via social platforms require an internal Social Media Driver’s Licence.”

MSLGroup’s recommendations:

1) Monitor all conversations related to your brand very closely

2) Create an internal/external “content engine” team to play an active role in and “sustain” these conversations

3) Avoid the limits of “cultural conservatism” or a fear of direct engagement with critics, because “burying your head in the sand will only expose your behind”

4) Increase transparency in all communications; “if you don’t want to see it on the front page of the newspaper, you shouldn’t be doing it”

5) Empower as many members of your team as possible to be “active communicators” by teaching them the rules of the game and defining those rules as specifically as possible

These points may be overly general in some respects, but that means they can be applied to almost every single brand’s case.

Here’s the study in scrolling form:

What do we think? Anything surprising here?

@PatrickCoffee Patrick Coffee is a senior editor for Adweek.