Before you get to Google or focus on Facebook, protect your company’s reputation by having a proactive reputation management strategy in place from the get-go. This plan will ensure that your brand is protected long before an angry tweet or complaining Facebook message is posed about you – and will make easier to respond rapidly in such an instance.
Proactive reputation protection first involves understanding that your online image, particularly in terms of review, will never be – and should not be perfect. You should seek a reasonable ratio of positive to negative or neutral reviews, rather than trying to unsuccessfully please everyone. Also before creating a plan, you must be aware that is ever-evolving as social media, your company and your consumers change.
Your reputation protection strategy, whether explicitly stated or implicitly understood, should mention: who will be responsible for monitoring your company’s reputation online and who will respond when issues arise; what issues require a response and which do not; how your company will respond to issues (with consideration for the worst case scenario); how often you will reevaluate your plan and who will be responsible for doing so; and how you will measure success.
Once you have decided on your strategy, it’s time for you and your employees to get to work proactively managing your reputation. You can start by asking satisfied customers to spread the word about you on review sites or through social media, and go further by seeking the opinion of important influencers on the Internet. You must identify who is an influencer in your industry – and work to encourage them to promote your company by forging and maintaining a relationship with them.
By protecting your reputation with a solid plan before issues arise, you can limit the impact and reach of problems. And although you can’t prepare for every possible scenario, having a plan in mind – or on paper – that accounts for the worst case scenario, smaller issues will seem easy to manage by comparison.