By Forbes 14/7/14: This article is by Stephanie E. Bor, Ph.D., assistant professor at the University of Nevada, Reno.
Companies understand that they cannot control everything their customers say about them in the unpredictable, spontaneous, and potentially viral realm of social media. This leads management asking questions such as: What can I do about user-generated online content? How do I harness negative criticism? And, how can my company best integrate itself into the social media conversation? In recognizing the need to consistently evaluate the relationship between online consumer activity and corporate reputation, researchers from VU University Amsterdam conducted a study that revealed that corporate reputation can be enhanced through social-media activity.
To examine this phenomenon, more than 3,500 people were surveyed about their social-media engagement with KLM Royal Dutch Airline. KLM is acknowledged as a frontrunner in commercial use of social media being cited as “a company that ‘gets’ it.” The total number of survey participants were categorized in two groups—customers and non-customers. Customers were classified as people that had used KLM’s services in the past two years; comparatively, non-customers had only limited interaction with the company. Distinguishing these two groups proved significant in results, which indicated that companies should more actively focus their social media activities on non-customers…./…
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