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The Dual Nature of Social Media: A Platform for Growth or a Pitfall for Credibility?

April 26, 2024 eye-glyph 78

Table of Contents

    Social media platforms are the best instrument for brands to engage with their customers. However, when things go wrong, it could be cause of the risk of credibility.

    As a CEO, entrepreneur, and leader, I’ve seen social media platforms both as a platform for growth and regrettably, as a risk for credibility.

    In my experience, it is a double-edged sword. When managed skillfully, it can be the catalyst for your brand reputation, magnify your reach, and widen doors to new prospects. Yet, one wrong action can deter a brand’s reputation, and deplete the trust you’ve cultivated so far.

    Take, for example, the instance of Snapchat. In 2017, a controversy involving Snapchat CEO, Evan Spiegel made headlines. An ex-employee asserted that Spiegel in 2015, stated that Snapchat is only for rich people, and he did not plan to extend into “poor” countries like India, and Spain.

    This alleged comment was processed severely by Indian users, resulting in a huge number of app uninstallations, and the lowest ratings on the App Store and Play Store. Snapchat’s rating on the App Store in India dropped to an average of 1 star.

    This incident of alleged comment serves as a reminder of how social media can affect a brand’s reputation.

    In this blog, I’ll help you learn how to navigate precisely the dual nature of social media.

    The Power of Social Media in Building Your Personal Brand and Boosting Business

    How Social Media Boost Your Business and Personal Brand

    Building Your Professional Presence

    As a professional, you are known for what you do! You are known for your skills and knowledge that you have excelled in your field and what you have achieved in your professional journey. To showcase the same, what could be a better place than social media?

    It is just a job of multiple clicks! Go to the platform, create your business profile, and boom! You are there to share your professional upfronts with all! In the same way, we put our personal lives over the internet, we can post our professional lives as well.

    Sharing, Connecting, and Engaging

    Putting your brand on social media enables you to expand your horizons to connect with like-minded people. Share your success stories, achievements, and also the failures you have gone through. Both ways work the best to inspire people.

    Social media allows people to resonate with you and connect through common thinking, boosting your engagement.

    Realizing the potential of personal branding, I have created my LinkedIn profile. By sharing my entrepreneurial journey, and personal experience, I have built a community of more than 50K people on social media.

    A Catalyst for Business Growth

    With its billions of users, social media provides an amazing opportunity for your business to attain mass reach and brand awareness. Users get attracted from your posts and content, to what you are serving them and might become your customers.

    Your personal branding efforts contribute towards your business growth. Think of Elon Musk, he is the CEO of various high-profile companies like Tesla, SpaceX, and Neuralink. He actively uses social media for communicating with the public, sharing negative and positive opinions. With this, users get influenced and this highly contributes to shaping the narrative around his companies.

    The Ripple Effect: How Social Media Can Backfire

    The Ripple Effect: How Social Media Can Backfire

    Your Posts Can Haunt You Back 

    In my opinion, social media being an open platform for all and access to every kind of information to be posted, can sometimes diminish the intentions of an individual.

    To begin with, inappropriate or offensive posts, tweets, or shares can harm a person’s or a company’s reputation.

    Think of a CEO’s inappropriate or controversial tweet, an employee’s misleading post about the company’s environment, or a customer’s negative review. All this can highly affect the reputation of the company and its CEOs. It can negatively affect the brand value, trust, and goodwill. Based on a report by Profspeak, 30% of companies saw a value backdrop in their reputation because of social media.

    Let’s take the example of social media platform Snapchat. It posted a quiz about the pop star Rihana. This quiz was “Would you rather slap Rihana or punch Chris Brown?” This quiz backfired on Snapchat because of the history between Rihana and Chris Brown.

    Campaign Sparks Controversy 

    A company’s social media campaign can also contribute to this loss if it backfires. A fragrance brand launched a Guerrilla campaign that showed a man applying deodorant and women following him. They displayed the same across various airports and public places.

    However, the campaign failed miserably and gained criticism. The major audience felt that this interpreted a false and unrealistic image of women where they would just follow men if they wore Ax fragrance.

    On the other hand, many teenage boys gathered around local shops from where they bought the product, complaining that none of the girls gave them attention.

    This shows how a campaign can backslash if it’s not in line with the audience’s views or expectations.

    The Duality of Social Media: Personal Actions, Professional Consequences

    It is important to draw a line between your personal social media account and your professional profile. Sometimes, it is not that easy. Whatever you post on your personal account reflects your company’s reputation.

    Think of a scenario, where you are posting an image saying ‘no to tobacco’ on a World-No Tobacco Day. On the other hand, on your personal profile, you have a post holding a cigar. You might have to deal with a lot of criticism!

    Therefore, be careful of what you post online even if your page is set to private.

    Spreading Fake News, Incomplete Or Mis-information 

    You might have heard something fishy about your competitor, which is not authenticated by them yet. However, with the motive of mocking them, you share the information over the internet, without verifying it.

    As the news spreads, your competitor might end up taking serious action against you for spreading fake information. Also, it can harm your credibility and negatively impact your online reputation.

    How to Protect Online Presence: Best Practices and Precautions

    Think Before You Post

    Before you post anything, just think about whether it is appropriate or not.

    • Whether you are comfortable with sharing this information with everyone?
    • Is there any personal information that you are disclosing that might get altered against you?
    • Whatever you are posting, is it misaligned with your professional beliefs?
    • Is there anything in the post that might hurt others’ sentiments?

    Ask these questions to yourself before posting. Once you post it, it cannot be deleted.

    You might think that deleting it from your social media account will delete it from the web. No, this is not the case. That particular image or video remains there forever.

    Talk To Your Friends, Closed Ones And Your Team Regarding Your Posts 

    Ask your friends and close ones about your personal posts and your business teams for your professional posts, to give you feedback. Ask them if there is anything inappropriate or if any personal information is being shared over your business account that should not be shared.

    You might miss the clash between your personal and professional fronts but people associated with you might not.

    Verify Information Before Posting 

    Before you post anything that you hear or read, try checking its authenticity from verified and credible sources. This prevents you from sharing misleading and fake information across social media, protecting your reputation.

    Report Negative Content  

    It is a human tendency that we usually ignore all the negative aspects. With bullying also, this is the case. If someone is bullying us, we try to ignore them and move forward. Be it in real life or online. However, this is not how you handle it.

    In real life, you might feel hesitant to confront someone who is bullying you, but online, you have the power. You can report the interaction to the host site, often anonymously.

    Separate Out Your Personal And Professional Account 

    This is one of the best practices that you can follow for maintaining the difference. Create a personal and professional account separately. This will help you keep your personal life private and maintain a polished professional life and brand reputation.

    Think Before You Click 

    Sure thing! So, imagine you’re scrolling through your social media and you get a message or a link from a friend or someone anonymous, that seems a bit off. Instead of clicking on it right away, it’s better to pause and take a closer look. Sometimes, your friend’s account might have been hacked by someone else, and they could be sending out spam or harmful stuff without even knowing it.

    So, to be safe, it’s a good idea to double-check with your friend or just ignore if you find something fishy.

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    Final Take

    Social media is a tool that should be used responsibly to build a brand praised by customers. I’ve shared a few best practices with you that might help you use this double-edged sword appropriately.

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