Online reputation management is one of my favorite social media marketing topics. Companies need to take proactive steps just in case a social media attack happens. However, most people wait until the last minute and take the 'knee jerk' approach to their online reputation. They also don't have a full grasp on what their followers, customers and clients really say about their brand.
Don't wait until the last minute to throw together a plan. If you don't have a social media crisis plan in place, here are 3 easy steps you can implement today to protect your online reputation:
1. Don't delegate your social media campaign to an inexperienced intern or employee - Many companies make the mistake of handing over the social media reigns to a younger 'Gen X' intern or employee. If you are a one-person team, take charge of your social media or hire a social media consultant to manage your campaign. If you work for a larger company, delegate social media campaigns to your marketing or communciations manager. Implement strategies to build solid relationships with followers and implement a social media editorial calendar. It's important to stay on top of your campaign and be consistent with posts and updates.
2. Practice social media 'fire drills' - Sit down and create a step-by-step social media crisis plan. For example, what if your company was attacked by a disgruntled customer and blasted your blog, Facebook, Twitter, website, etc. with nasty comments about your company? Don't live in fear, but remember to forge key relationships with customers and industry leaders. It helps your reputation if you have followers on your side who can publicly defend your brand.
3. Beware of Facebook page 'hijacking' - There's a nasty trick that's running rampant on Facebook pages. Competitors are sneaking onto company Facebook pages and overrunning them with negative comments. This is commonly seen with social cause campaigns - the equivalent to a virtual sit-in/protest. Check your Facebook page on a regular basis, get rid of spam comments (spam runs rampant on Facebook pages as well) and respond to attacks in a professional, courteous manner. If a customer becomes over the top and makes threatening comments against you or your employees, make sure you have your lawyer's number handy. Don't hesitate to seek legal counsel if you aren't sure how to handle defamatory comments.