Does your company have, or want, a reputation management action plan today? If not, take some time to get familiar with it. The overwhelming response should be an unequivocal Yes! In old fashioned marketing concepts, this may well have been regarded as somewhat similar to brand management.
However in today’s high-tech networking world, reputation management action plan is an entirely new universal meaning. It is no longer just about protecting your brand name from negative stories. Today, you need to protect your company from potential customers. You will not be able to control or affect the news stories, but you can take preventive measures to protect your brand before a negative story surfaces.
This is not all that easy, of course. Building a reputation management action plan involves social media pages, blogs, websites and even live events. As you become more familiar with this, you will find that you have to take the appropriate steps to protect yourself from negative things. You cannot react to each and every negative thing that appear in the press or in social media without first creating and maintaining a solid reputation management plan. You can certainly monitor what is said in social media pages and in blog posts, but you can’t do much else.
The second component to your brand reputation management strategy is setting your brand reputation goals. Without clearly defined goals, it’s hard to know where to begin. The goals will guide your actions and they must be achievable. So, for example, you may want to increase sales, maintain customer loyalty, improve web traffic and so on.
Your reputation management goals will depend on the tone of your online presence. For instance, if you want to build a positive image on the Internet, then it would make sense to say something like “I am very happy that my online image is improving as I am getting more feedback from my customers.” However, if your goal is simply to prevent negative comments from appearing online, then it doesn’t make any sense to stress about your good reviews. Or, conversely, if you want to boost sales, then it would be wise to stress that your product or service is the best in the market. And then, simply avoid posting any negative comments at all costs.
There are also top-notch tools available to help you monitor reviews and guard against negative reviews. Some of the most popular include: Google Alerts, Twitter lists, Facebook notifications, email and text alert, Bing alerts and Yahoo Alerts. However, even these top-notch tools only go so far. They can’t be used to eliminate all negative reviews as some negative reviews could come from legitimate sources.
A strong reputation management plan goes a step further and involves proactive measures. For instance, if your reputation has been damaged by a defamatory blog post, then you need to take steps to correct the problem before the damage is done. This would mean having your brand name appear as a category on blogs that reference your products and services. This will ensure that people who are looking for information about your brand name will find it in these categories. This will further encourage potential customers to patronize your brand name. Similarly, if there have been several unfavorable reviews published online, then your reputation management plan should consider contacting the reporters or news organizations and request that they retract their negative stories.
Finally, if the damage is already done and no efforts are being made to correct the situation, then your best recourse would be to get the help of a reputable reputation management expert. Experts with years of experience in dealing with online reputation issues have the expertise to identify the main problems and develop effective remedies. Using top-notch tools to address negative issues is important but it is not enough. Real preventive measures must be taken to ensure that no social media platform can damage your reputation online.