Businesses need to actively manage their corporate reputation now more than ever, and social media is largely the reason. With information so readily available, and market influencers, not to mention the General Public, having a more prominent voice, a company’s reputation can change in a matter of moments.
Having a strong, well-managed reputation can help companies mitigate the risks related to social media. Businesses also need to tap into the opportunity that social networks present—owning their digital narrative.
With the capabilities and reach of social platforms expanding constantly, companies big and small must listen to and understand social conversations to maintain and enhance their reputation in the digital space.
We looked at 2018’s US RepTrak results to see how some of the most reputable company’s win at reputation using social media.
Campbell Soup Company (@CampbellSoupCo)
This year Campbell’s earned a strong reputation score of 72.5 largely due to being deemed “open and transparent about the way [they] operate.” This strategy definitively influenced their standing as the #1 most reputable company in the US. Social media is an effective vehicle for communicating details about the company, and Campbell’s is taking full advantage. In this example, Campbell's is giving a shout out to sustainability in support of #farmers and #realfood.
Nike isn’t afraid to take a stand. The company makes their position clear on high-profile issues and uses their social platforms to send that message to a large audience very quickly. When we consider the company’s recent controversial ad campaign featuring Colin Kaepernick, there are clearly a number of risks to consider, but it seems that Nike’s reputation may benefit in the long run from this decision:
“Based on initial sales and stock market evaluations, it seems that Nike’s gamble has paid off so far. Just after the ad was released, from September 2-4 online sales of Nike gear jumped 31%, nearly double the company’s sales during the same period last year.
As of September 18th, Nike’s stock price was trading at an all-time high of $85.10. Short-term success notwithstanding, Nike’s continued public involvement in issues of social justice—including racial and gender inequality and freedom of speech—is likely to have lasting implications for the company’s reputation-at-large.”
Nike practices what it preaches: "Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything."
Anyone who is anyone has a pair of these headphones, and by partnering with market influencers, Bose won’t let you forget. The brand owns its popularity-infused persona and, according to our research, 58% of respondents strongly agree that Bose stands out from the crowd.
Barnes & Noble (@BNBuzz)
Barnes and Noble regularly uses memorable hashtags and live events to keep their audience engaged (#BNBookClub, #BNStorytime). For years Barnes and Noble has been a go-to destination for book lovers, and our reputation results show just that; over 62% of respondents strongly agree that Barnes and Noble delivers a consistent experience, an important metric when determining corporate reputation and brand strength. Barnes and Noble recently landed the #1 spot in our US Retail RepTrak.
Have you pre-ordered our latest #BNBookClub selection? We'll host discussions about @hankgreen’s debut novel AN ABSOLUTELY REMARKABLE THING in all B&N stores on Wednesday, 10/24 at 7 PM! Sign up online and pre-order the B&N Exclusive Edition: http://spr.ly/6013DLIcf @DuttonBooks
Kellogg’s highlights their Corporate Responsibility (CR) and sustainability initiatives, and that stands out to consumers. Clearly communicating CR initiatives that align with a company’s purpose is easier said than done, but Kellogg’s does this masterfully. It is no surprise that the company excels in the area of CR with strong reputation scores in Workplace, Governance, and Citizenship.
Hershey’s social content is highly dynamic, with a huge focus on video. According to our data, these posts are memorable, too. Seventeen percent of respondents have seen advertisements from Hershey’s on social media and when these communications have a lasting effect on consumers, company value significantly increases. Hershey’s effectively taps into this to communicate thumb-stopping messages to their stakeholders.
Hallmark shows their social fans lots of love through user-generated content (UGC) that is consistently shared on the company’s social channels. Their audience clearly loves feeling connected in this way to the brand because Hallmark’s emotional score among respondents far exceeds their rational score. Their emotional score is about 8-points higher than their rational score.
Smuckers shows the versatility of their products and invites their followers to engage by making recipes! Seeing interactive highlights like these on social channels resonates with stakeholders and it shows when we measure the company’s corporate reputation. Of all the dimensions measured, Smuckers has the highest score in Products and Services: an excellent 82.1. Strawberry Jalapeno Fruit Spread, anyone?
Canon doesn’t consistently try to sell you on their products. Instead, they share images to inspire you, and show what is possible to capture using a Canon camera. According to our research, 46% of respondents view Canon's aspirational messaging to be creative, and 41% as imaginative.
Amazon shares content about all areas of their business, and they highlight the people who make their company so successful. This strategy works well for Amazon, because only 2.9% of respondents are unsure about the company’s activities around Products/Performance, Innovation, Governance, Citizenship, and Leadership. Amazon is sharing info about their company, and consumers are taking it all in.
How Can Your Company Apply These Social Media Tactics?
We suggest you begin with some goal-setting. Know your audience and target them appropriately. Do not guess, but work at truly understanding if your priority stakeholders are consumers, investors, or employees. And does this differ between networks?
At RI, for example, we dedicate our Instagram page primarily to highlighting employees in action. This is a way for us to support our employees, encourage them to connect, and to showcase our company as an employer of choice.
Other social media best practices we've seen some of the most reputable companies in the world employ include:
- Consistency across all brand messaging
- Aligning message with greater corporate purpose
- Appealing to emotion
- Engaging audiences by sharing user-generated content
How is your company using social media? What's working best? Let us know!
Social Media & Marketing Coordinator