Regardless of how committed one is to professionalism and being values-focused, no brand, corporation, or public figure is immune to the disturbance of an online reputation crisis. One of the disadvantages of having notoriety is being held to account in the court of public opinion. If you or your brand ever find yourself under scrutiny, using these five tips can set you on course to achieve an online reputation management solution.
If an event occurs that requires a reputation management intervention for your company, one of the most visible symptoms will be in online comments or reviews. In this situation, it’s critical that you both listen to what people are saying and care about participating in the discourse that’s happening online. Reacting apathetically or disingenuously to negative comments—or indiscriminately deleting negative comments altogether—can magnify the controversy more than the inciting incident itself. People are moved to comment or post reviews because an experience has made them feel ignored or undervalued. Replying in a way that makes consumers feel acknowledged and appreciated isn’t a consummate remedy, but it does wonders to restore a damaged reputation.
2. Be Prepared
It’s impossible to prepare for all errors or oversights that might incite an undesirable public response, but there are a number of common crises companies face that should be thought about in advance. Particularly as you scale, you’re more likely to encounter issues such as security breaches, management misconduct, or even crisis of financial stability. In these situations, time is your most valuable asset, so drafting statements that can be tweaked to fit particular circumstances is a prudent proactive measure for your team to take.
3. Advocate for Yourself
The public isn’t going to know what you stand for unless you tell them, and you don’t want to only be spreading your message when a crisis strikes. Managing your reputation shouldn’t only be a reactionary measure. Take charge of your public perception from the jump by sharing positive news with customers and other stakeholders via a blog, social media, and other content-sharing platforms. Building a trove of content that shows how you consistently act in-line with your mission shows that an inevitable blunder is an exception to the rule, proven by a well-documented track record.
4. Pass the Mic
While it’s always important to use your voice to its fullest when steering your online perception, letting others express their support for your company offers an advantageous perspective. From social media sponsorships with influential public figures to guest articles written by existing connections, utilizing external partnerships to endorse your product, service, or brand is effective in ways that internally-developed statements can’t achieve.
5. Utilize Technology
For an online reputation management solution, sometimes the best offense is a good defense. Staying on top of the conversation is highly important in order to curb a few unfavorable comments before they become widespread. There is a wealth of technology available to monitor keywords associated with your business and signal notable shifts when they occur. As a baseline, Google Alerts is a simple and ubiquitous tool for content change detection that should be implemented as part of a reputation management strategy in any organization, no matter the size or scope.
Developing a comprehensive online reputation management solution requires ownership of many moving parts. Establishing response protocols, organizing workflows, overseeing comments and reviews, and regularly monitoring the public conversation is a considerable amount to manage. There are few things more meaningful to a brand than maintaining their reputation and leveraging online reputation management services can both give confidence that the handling of your public perception is under control and provide relief during times of reputation crises.