Social Media & Reputation Management


A few days ago, the new Walterdale Bridge finally opened (albeit partially) after two years of questionable delays and without much fanfare. Just a few weeks ago the Edmonton Journal reported the city was being mum about the bridge’s opening which left city residents (and media) out in the cold. In the information age, we can argue that this is not the best approach to business communications.

With social media platforms like Twitter and Snapchat, people are looking for more behind the scenes, exclusive information to which they would otherwise not have access. For example, many people want to know what Justin Timberlake had for breakfast, just as much as knowing what he wore to the Oscars and what his latest album or movie will be released. They also want to know about his values, baby, marriage, favourite hair gel, diet regime and basically anything else he is willing to share through his social media channels and the general media. It’s the FOMO information age – that’s just how it works.

Mr. Timberlake is a brand, and people want to know what that brand is all about.

Businesses, too, need to understand that they have an obligation to share information about themselves – in a much different approach than standard communications. Gone are the days where a website was just a place for background and/or contact information about your company. It now needs to have access to blogs, photos, resources, Twitter feeds, company values, videos, statements, CSR programs, employee profiles, customer service, exclusive promotions, etc. Information is key!

A brand that does this very well is Airbnb. Through their Instagram posts they were able to create a conversation about the news of the day, inclusion, with the use of their hashtag (#WeAccept). They were also coming under fire by its own members and media about some of the users who were experiencing discrimination when using the platform. The campaign also announced how the platform would provide short-term housing for displaced people. They had ads, social media posts, blog posts and media relations all relaying the same information. By sharing information, their campaign was a big hit in the global marketplace and everyone now knows about their commitment to inclusion. Does this tie in directly to their bottom line – quite possibly – but mostly it helped keep their stakeholders informed and manage their reputation.

With brands and individuals going the extra mile to keep the public informed, consumers will continue to want more content from companies, governments and leaders moving forward. Although information about the new Walterdale Bridge in Edmonton was sporatic, it will probably be water under the bridge (pun intended!) for Edmontonians in a few weeks – just in time for elections.

James Morrissey