Every tactic, connection, and piece of content posted online contributes to an organization’s reputation and now it is more important than ever for companies to have a presence in social media. Other than brand awareness and customer reach, it is necessary for companies to manage corporate social media accounts so they can react quickly to any negative (or positive!) attention it may be receiving. Another reason for this is reputation management, where, as Dell and Dominos learned, the public opinion of a company can be tarnished by one tweet, video, or blog posting.
First, it is important to recognize that corporate reputations are damaged by the organization’s own mistakes, not those who point out those mistakes on public forums and social media. If a complaint about poor customer service comes along, it is the responsibility of the company to address the issue and admit to mistakes that were made on the company’s behalf. The quicker a company is to providing a solution to the negative reaction, the better the chance to “nip it in the bud” and avoid a flood of complaints to come pouring in. One general rule for corporations using social media is that it should be used for honest communication with customers.
If you’re wondering how in the world you are going to know who is talking about you, then you are in luck. Real-time search and reputation management tools, such as Trackur and whostalkin.com, allow organizations to filter through web content and social media sites to detect when your organization or brand name shows up. If you’ve already had some “bad press” take the opportunity to leverage the power of SEO rankings by optimizing your own positive content in place of what negative posts are ranking you for (your IT department can help you with this).
Layla Revis, of Ogilvy and Mathers, recommends these 6 steps for protecting corporate image in the Social Media Age:
- Don’t pretend a crisis is not happening – address the issue in a clear and effective manner, neither overreacting or under reacting
- Don’t make an empty gesture – no apologizing for apologizing
- Don’t refuse to back track – admit your mistake, and speak directly to your customers about how you’ll be going back to fix things
- Develop channels of communication – utilize or establish a blog, Twitter and Facebook networks to reassure customers and employees
- Establish a crisis communications response team – companies must drive the messaging and response; use listening platforms, monitor sentiment, and establish a dedicated team to inform and advise internal and external stakeholders of issues and responses
- Become influential and change perceptions – use these channels to focus the conversation around your brand so that when a crisis does arise, you have more control over the perception
How do you anticipate handling negative feedback on social media? Let us know!