You don’t have to be a superhero to protect your brand online, but it helps.
The good news is that anyone can become this person. Follow these top tips to help you watch over your precious brand and protect it from the potential pitfalls of living in an online world.
Be vigilant. Building awareness and a good brand reputation takes time and hard work, but can be wiped out in an instant with negative online press. As well as monitoring your brand’s social media accounts and any website feedback, be sure to google your company regularly to check what other people see when they search for your brand. And use a service such as Google Alerts to keep on top of any and all internet mentions of your brand.
Post positive. If you find any negative comments on the first page or two of search results, you can counteract them by posting positive stories. Post on all relevant channels, and pay for them to be promoted. This doesn’t need to cost much, but can be worth a fortune if it results in the negative stories being pushed down the search rankings.
Play nice. You shouldn’t rely solely on counteracting negative stories by posting positive ones, however. Be sure to respond quickly to any damaging comments or reviews with a dignified, non-confrontational tone, and only after carefully researching all the facts. Don’t get sucked into an online war of words – the internet never forgets – and consider taking it out of the public sphere if appropriate.
Make plans, lots of plans. Be proactive rather than just reactive by having a variety of planned responses to possible brand attacks. Problems might arise from compliance issues, disgruntled former employees, unhappy customers or resentful competitors. It’s impossible to plan for every eventuality, but having a go-to folder of potential replies will at least give you a confident starting point.
Encourage good reviews. Opinions matter. A recent survey reported that 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Make it easy for people to recommend you – with feedback forms, questionnaires or surveys, and build up a bank of strong case studies for your website.
In short, plan as much as you can for every eventuality, and build a regular reputation check into your daily routine. If your company doesn’t have a crisis management document, spend a day drafting responses to a range of scenarios. Look at your brand’s online footprint, and also think about the reach and personal footprints of key people working for or associated with it. Be prepared – you never know when you might be called on to save the day.