If your company uses social media to engage with customers and improve brand awareness, having a reputation management strategy in place is crucial. In fact, even if you are not actively involved in social media, it is still important to manage your reputation effectively. Here are five important things to remember when it comes to effective reputation management.
1. Be Consistent
If you read a negative post about a company on a tiny blog that you stumble across, you may be surprised to see a response from the company defending itself. How did they find it so quickly?
They monitor their brand constantly.
Reputation management is not something you can dip your toe into every week or so. When a negative comment is made about your company, you need to be there to react as soon as possible. To do that, you need to use tools to help you carry out your monitoring more effectively.
A leading brand reputation company in the US – ReputationChanger.com – had this to say: “Using something as simple as the free Google Alerts can help you to react quickly when your brand is mentioned, whether that is to show your appreciation for a positive review or to react to a complaint or rumour. SocialMention is another free tool, but there are other more comprehensive and expensive tools available.”
2. Have Your Plan of Action Ready
It’s all well and good to monitor the internet for mentions of your brand, but what happens when something goes wrong? You need to have a plan of action at the ready so that you can react immediately.
Decide who in your company will have the ultimate responsibility for reacting to negative press. Give the role to one person or a team of people so that only they can respond, and this will avoid different people implementing different strategies.
Make sure that they and their team are fully briefed so that they can react appropriately as soon as the crisis erupts.
3. Dominate the Search Results
It is a very good idea to become active on a few different social networks and to optimise these for your company name. People will often search for a company in the search engines to see what comes up, and if they only see negative reviews on the first page this could be very damaging.
By making sure that all of your different social networks are the first links to appear, you will have a greater degree of control and there will be less space for negative reviews, so that when a crisis arises you will be able to use this to your advantage.
Social networks allow you to create stronger online presence for your brand and to have a greater ability to tackle a crisis, so make sure you take advantage of this.
4. Train Your Employees
Not everyone is efficient with social media. If your staff are not comfortable using social media then they may end up making a mistake or acting inappropriately, which could exacerbate a problem that arises.
Make sure you teach them about social media etiquette and techniques so that they are better prepared to deal with a crisis. Build social media into your day-to-day activities and make sure that your staff know what is permitted and what is not to avoid causing any problems themselves that could damage your brand.
5. Always React
When negative comments or complaints arise about your company, never ignore them. Make sure you take a bit of time to reply appropriately if needed, but don’t turn a blind eye to the comment.
Public comments could be seen by thousands or millions of people, and if you choose not to respond your reputation could take a hit.
The key is to act fast, but to act carefully, and this is where your social media plan comes into effect. Don’t think that because a comment is hidden away somewhere no one will find it. Wait too long and you could have a much tougher job on your hands correcting the problem.
Take Your Reputation Management Seriously
Reputation management is something that you should take very seriously, even if you do not have a social media presence yourself. Don’t sit back and wait until a crisis emerges. Always prepare for the worst and make contingency plans so that when you are faced with a situation you can react quickly and appropriately to deal with it in the most effective way possible.