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Opinions of Thursday, 21 July 2016

Columnist: Alex Offei Lartey

Corporate brand and staff social media representation

Corporate reputations may be heavily compromised when employees engage in all kinds of unprofessional and unhealthy activities such as sharing of ‘sextapes’, disrespecting others, declaring strong political affiliations, telling lies, exhibiting extreme ignorance on subjects, posting ‘half-nude’ selfies, and several others on social media and other such portals.

In the past, before the advent of technology, we would only hear about companies only when they advertise in the media or when they have something to tell the public. The brand perceptions of these companies were mostly informed by what the companies told us and of course, they were mostly positive.

We couldn’t really have access to objective assessment of these companies. We hardly saw or even heard of any negative experiences and other bad attitudes they represented, since there were limited platforms to have access to such information. At best you could hear a few comments from your immediate family and friends if they experienced bad customer service or any such behavior from any company.

In recent years however, the situation has changed. Now brands are perceived by the numerous online reviews, customer experiences, product feedbacks, and several others that people share on the internet.

Social media has even made it easy to readily know what people are saying about a particular company, its products or services to help make the choice of patronizing or not. It’s often what people engage with, about a brand, which gets to stick on their minds. This could be our activities and attitudes especially what we do on social media.

There is much evidence that more corporate people are becoming very active on social media… but how can we be sure that their activities do not hurt their companies’ brand and actually do not turn away customers? A poll analysis by Jeremy Victor; ‘At work or not, employees’ social actions affect brand equity and value’, shows that, 25.05% of the public believe that brands should be held responsible for the personal posts and activities of their employees.

In his article he said, “If employees are posting on the social web, whether you like it or not, it has the potential to affect an individual’s perception of your brand and company. Period.”

Nonetheless, companies will certainly enjoy some positives such as brand enhancements, wide publicity, positive influence, increased conversions and several other opportunities if employees would undertake some simple best practices to effectively manage their online presence especially on social media.

Watch out for my next publication on How to effectively position your corporate persona on Social Media.