How Social Media Shapes Corporate Reputations

By Thomas Murrell International Business Speaker, Author and Investor Relations Specialist

Social media has turned consumers into producers of media.

This means every corporate action by a company, individual or supplier can be recorded and shared with the world.

Take this recent example of a Qantas flight from Sydney to Los Angeles.

The flight turned back because of a medical emergency and was re-routed to Brisbane.

This was how it unfolded.

"Qantas fuel dump medical emergency" was the title of the email with the following movie attached.

Then another email.

"You can send this on if you want. The plane was on route Syd LA two hours plus we went back to Brisbane 5 mins ago to help a passenger in premium to hospital @ cost to Qantas $500,000. Might be interesting"

And the following photos.

So did the actions of Qantas enhance or detract from its corporate reputation?

Well, that doesn't matter what is important is that this case study highlights the risks of social media.

There are two types of risk those that are generated internally or those that are inflicted by others.

In the Qantas case it is an internal risk because they initiated and controlled their actions.

Was this in a manual? Yes.

Does this enhance their flawless safety record? Yes.

Has it enhanced their reputation for dealing with emergencies? Yes, especially if you are a family member of the critically ill person.

Is this more important than the cost of $500,000? Yes, reputations take years to build up and can be lost in seconds.

Here's some lessons on social media and risk.

1. Always have a clear social media policy to drive decision making at all levels of your organisation.

2. Be Honest

3. Be Respectful

Remember the world is watching your corporate actions.

Need help on social media? Contact us for a free initial discussion.

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