Protecting Your Online Reputation

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In the past, companies were able to carefully nurture their brand identities, taking special attention to ensure each piece of communication sent the right message.  Today, however, in our new socially interconnected world, these brands that have been built up over years can be easily damaged in seconds, taking a battering from the reality of immediate communications.

Given the sheer volume of earned media and word-of-mouth communications, companies are now embarking into what is being called “Online Reputation Management.”  To help protect your businesses online reputation, let us recommend the following five tips:

1.  Acknowledge the crisis – quickly!

When the unexpected happens, customers and clients need to hear directly from the source of the problem.  A well-crafted, honest and well-meaning response is required within minutes.

2. Don’t make fake apologies

How many times have you been told Company ABC is “terribly sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused?”  Repeating the corporate mumbo-jumbo comes across as lazy and uninspired.  Be honest.  Be fair.  Call it what it is.

3. Develop channels of communication

Using a blog, Facebook or Twitter (or other applicable social networks) will help reassure customers and vendors of any problems and your plans to resolve them.  You can use video, text pictures, and chat rooms as democratic means of managing your response.

4. Establish a Crisis Communications Response Strategy

Having a process in place before the crisis happens will greatly improve your response when it happens.

5. Become influential & change perceptions

In our social world, if you do not write, take speaking engagements, talk to your audiences and connect, you become irrelevant.  Use the channels to focus the conversation around your brand, so when a problem does happen, you have more control over the perception.


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