Social media has radically changed the way consumers convey their feelings to businesses. It has also radically changed the way businesses must give top attention to remaining agile, alert, and responsive to those consumers. Transparency, honesty, and accountability are more important today because they are more visible.
A crucial strategic piece is for companies to take advantage of quiet times to strengthen their public relations and their reputation. This enables those companies to respond quickly and persuasively when any kind of a crisis arises about their behavior, decisions, or policies.
Doing all this online is an absolute must, and many tools exist to leverage social media to the companys advantage. Felix Gillette describes the increasing refinement of the technical tools (Its Getting Tougher to Bully Brands Bloomberg Businessweek 8/6/128/12/12, pp. 2022):
These days, brand strategists possess precise social media monitoring software, which can tell them exactly how many people are expressing disgust and whether the outrage is growing or dissipating. (p. 22)
These kinds of tools allow companies to assess risk, public sentiment, and strategy. Armed with those insights, maybe they can even get their public relations to move as fast as social media. Wouldnt that be nice?
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