Businesses have a range of channels available to them when it comes to perception management, with the internet and social media opening up further options for those looking to build a solid corporate reputation.
While traditional perception management channels are still an important feature of communications, 75 per cent of all Australians are now active on social media, according to Roy Morgan Research.
Social media poses a new set of challenges, mostly due to the fact that it's a user-driven platform. The power is now in the hands of the general public. So with that in mind, which perception management channels do they trust the most?
People respond to social media communication
Customer feedback expert Review Inc recently conducted research into the perception management channels that individuals respond to most. While all strategies successfully reach their target audience, one in particular is more trusted than others.
The firm found that reviews posted on social media are the most trusted source of information, making these an important avenue for building the reputation of a B2C firm.
Interestingly, while businesses acknowledge the role of social media in preserving and promoting their image, they had a different idea of which channels are the most effective. According to the research, businesses believe that their website and digital advertising activities carry the most weight with consumers.
The second most trusted category includes three of the staples of traditional advertising, with consumers still putting faith in messages communicated through radio, television and newspaper advertising. While these channels have proven to be effective, they are also some of the most expensive compared to the opportunities posed by new media.
How important is trust?
The value of trust to organisations operating in the digital space was the focus of a joint survey conducted between online retailer Amazon and e-commerce provider Pymnts.
The pair's research discovered that trust is the defining factor in converting online interest into a sale. According to the survey, nearly a quarter (23 per cent) of consumers feel this way.
Consistent perception management was also rewarded by the survey's results, as 14 per cent of respondents said that positive experiences in the past would increase their likelihood of returning. This is especially important in the age of social media, where reputational risk management put to the test.
Now, it doesn't take long before minor slip ups in customer communication make international news, meaning businesses need to be aware of how consumers respond to social media influences.