Social media provides huge opportunities for large and small businesses alike. It delivers a platform which can help turn the smallest business into a global hit if used in the right way. Unfortunately the reverse can happen, a business can take years to establish a reputation for quality and reliability which can be damaged in days.

How businesses interact with social media and in particular how they react to a negative comment, whether it is a complaint or observation can have major implications on their business reputation, there are many examples where companies have got it wrong, furthermore doing nothing can be even worse.

Key points to consider:

• Anyone’s voice in social media can be heard

• Businesses can have more difficulty than individuals in avoiding damaging news

• Bad news tends to travel faster and further than good news

Does your company have a social media policy for employees?

Businesses should also be aware of any negative mentions by employees, even if not relating to the business can have extreme implications. A business should make sure it has a social media policy in place and everyone understands it. The policy should include what not to do on social media, for example; not to speak on behalf of employer, not to reveal confidential information. It should also include unacceptable social media behaviours such as bullying, harassment etc.

Understanding how you, your employees and your business use social media can be the first steps to protecting your business. Reacting instantly and positively can save your reputation.

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