Reputation management isn’t something to be improvised. Every company from a major corporation to a solo entrepreneur working at home has to have a solid plan for managing its reputation. There are five steps to doing this effectively.
The first step is to envision possible reputation damage scenarios. Sit down and make an extensive list of all of the different things that can happen. Imagine everything from a small bump in the road to a major emergency. The most obvious problem would be a negative post somewhere complaining about your company’s service. There may also be a situation where a customer doesn’t understand your company’s policies and the complaint comes from this misunderstanding. Envision each place where a comment could appear so that you can create a plan for dealing with each. Examples would be personal blogs, your blog comments, social media sites, online forums, review sites, etc.
Next you need to determine the best response to the negative information. For each item on your list, decide what would be the best response. Consider it from the point of view of other customers who will be watching. For example, you might respond to a complaint on Facebook by engaging with the customer, asking them to clarify, empathizing with them, and then offering them a solution. To other users who are reading the thread, your company shows that it cares about customers and not just its own reputation. Included in this plan should be a chain of command notification. When a problem is discovered, how will it be communicated to everyone in the company who needs to know?
Now you need to set up a plan for monitoring. You know what to look for. The next step is to decide how to monitor. One way to monitor all online content is through alert notification programs like Google Alerts. You may also routinely check Twitter using hashtags and Facebook by searching posts or using HyperAlerts.no. You might identify certain online forums, review sites, and other sites where you’re likely to be mentioned for monitoring.
The fourth step is to delegate monitoring. Put someone in your company in charge of monitoring. This is a perfect task to outsource to your online business manager. You may want to delegate to several people. For example, if a certain staff member handles your Facebook account, put them in charge of monitoring Facebook for comments. Make sure everyone is on the same page with all procedures for dealing with negative comments.
The final step is very simple but often forgotten. Create positive content. In addition to doing damage control, reputation management is also about creating content that shows your company in a positive light. Seek testimonials and reviews from your customers and create fresh content on your website, social media sites, and blog. Positive content will off-set any negative content. This is an ongoing job, so make things like soliciting feedback from customers a regular part of your sales process.