A business’ online identity is anchored on its websites and social media presence. When these platforms are hacked or razed by foul-mouthed trolls, business reputation suffers no less than a very public flogging.
Online reputation management is a proactive process. At its heart, the industry presents a business to an online audience in the most factual, pragmatic, and competent light. It does have the byword of chasing after and away negative feedback about the company by diluting search engine rankings with affirmative content. However, this latter process could merely be a panic spin or a raving misfire after suffering a blow and could, at best, take down one dissenting top search result.
The crisis of defamation is aggravated by late online reputation management efforts. If, from inception, the company hasn’t been forthcoming in social media or its own website about the nature of its business, its promise of results and quality, and its flexibility to rectify errors and customer dissatisfaction, then it is entering the world of online marketing on the defensive. This is a fragile place to be in terms of time lost and loyal brand ambassadors gained. The latter would not have been around to divert flak.
However, online reputation defense could salvage any company, especially one that has been blindsided. At this point, social media crisis management rules the handbook.
Social media is the only avenue for real-time, concentrated response. Whereas a laudatory press release published on the company website begs the effort, a sincere, apologetic tweet to an irate customer is tantamount to being in the middle of the mob and holding off the extremes. The pacifying power of language and attention could be the loudest voice in a runaway Facebook comment thread. The idea is that any sort of company presence in its own busy social media platform halts the most injudicious proceedings and gives the crowd the attention or customer service it loudly wants.
A strategy puts a timeframe on reputation defense. It also fields the business’ marketing manpower across the most relevant platforms. Ideally, several hands should be at work to respond to queries and complaints, taking online reputation management back to the team effort it really is. The strategy is set off by an informative status update that locks down the noise. That means the company acknowledges the hate, presents its side, and resumes more personalized service, as the situation demands.