Nanos study finds that 84% believe social media can do a great deal of damage

TORONTO, August 31st 2016 – Signal Leadership Communication Inc. (SLC), a social PR consultancy for executives dealing with digital disruption, today released the results of a new Nanos Research public opinion poll of 1,000 Canadians which has found that social media is seen as the medium most able to cause damage to public image.

Eighty-four percent (84%) of respondents surveyed said that social media ‘can do a great deal of damage to the image of an individual or organization’. Only 71% felt this was true of both online news and broadcast television, while just over half (52%) said it about print newspapers and just under half (48%) about radio.

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“The danger of social media to inflict image damage is real, so leaders need to take this powerful PR threat to their reputation seriously,” said Bob Pickard, Principal of SLC. “Social media is not just about selling to a mass audience; it’s about relationships with real individuals who experience and share a wide range of emotions with their online communities. Corporate communicators – not just brand marketers – need to design social media presence accordingly and invest the necessary resources. It all starts with the leaders, with whom an often-demanding public increasingly seeks to have a direct personal connection through online networks.”

While social media is the channel that is most dangerous to reputation, people look to online news outlets when they want timely information. Asked to rate various sources for timely news delivery, 71% of Canadians viewed online news as ‘extremely timely’ followed by radio (60%), broadcast television (59%), social media (41%) and print newspapers (27%).

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“Social media increasingly shapes the way that news is produced and perceived, so it is crucial for leaders to carefully plan their approach to both traditional and new mediums. There is very little time today for public relations storytelling. Instead, there is a need to be nimble and respond appropriately as a story plays out. Good judgment and digital savvy are key to managing reputation. There’s far more risk for something to go wrong and explode virally. If it does, the public’s attention is on the leaders online — so they themselves need to understand this new digital dynamic. This is the kind of the coaching and counsel that Signal Leadership Communication is in a uniquely qualified position to deliver.”

 The full results of the study can be downloaded here:

 Signal Leadership Communication Inc. (SLC) is a social public relations firm for executives and organizations with images to create, issues to manage, relationships to build, and reputations to protect in a digitally disrupted era. It is the one communications consultancy expressly dedicated to serving senior leaders with PR counsel that is both strategic and social by design, informed by a deep understanding of analytics, content, communities, media, sustainability and technology.

Nanos Research conducted an RDD dual frame (land- and cell-lines) hybrid telephone and online random survey of 1,000 Canadians, 18 years of age or older, between March 31st and April 4th 2016 as part of an omnibus survey. Participants were randomly recruited by telephone using live agents and administered a survey online. The sample included both land- and cell-lines across Canada. The results were statistically checked and weighted by age and gender using the latest Census information and the sample is geographically stratified to be representative of Canada. Individuals were randomly called using random digit dialling with a maximum of five callbacks. The margin of error for a random survey of 1,000 Canadians is ±3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. Signal Leadership Communication Inc. commissioned this Nanos Research study.

CONTACT | Bob Pickard | | +1 (647) 822-1000 | @BobPickard

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