A key component to any Internet reputation management plan
Without a doubt, reputation is your most valuable asset, and these days the fate of that asset will be decided online. Before you can even begin to consider how to best protect and grow your reputation, you need to get familiar with one of the basics of modern crisis management – monitoring the ‘net.
- Establish a framework
First off, you need to establish some framework. In this case, that means setting up your own social media accounts.
You don’t need to be active on every single one, and should ideally pick 2-3 of the most popular among stakeholders focus on in order to maximize your efforts, but having at least a basic profile fleshed out on each will give you a platform to respond from regardless of where the conversation starts.
- Get familiar with your tools
Find a social media dashboard that allows you to access every major service (we prefer HootSuite), and start exploring. See how conversations flow, and familiarize yourself with how to reply, both privately and in public, to others, as well as how functions like lists and targeted messaging work.
If you’re going to use social media for both personal and business via the same device, we strongly recommend utilizing two different programs. Far too many crises have begun as a result of someone sending messages via the wrong profile.
- Keep an ear to the ground
Searches are your friend when it comes to online reputation management.
You’ll want to establish searches for your company name, industry keywords, competitor’s names, hashtags you use, and any other relevant terms you come up with.Your social media suite should be able to display a constant stream of searches for mentions of your names or handles. Google Alerts is another fantastic, and free, tool, that will cover mentions of any keywords you want from around the web.
If you really want to get serious, you can’t beat paid services (we use CustomScoop) for catching just about everything that goes up online.
- The human touch
What’s the absolute most effective online reputation management tool in your arsenal? HINT: It has nothing to do with your computer.
If you said your brain, you’re spot on. Searches are fantastic for putting information at your fingertips, sorting data via dashboards is incredible, but without a thinking human being processing everything, none of it matters.
Of course, this means your social media managers will have to not only be top-tier customer service reps, but also have crisis management training under their belts. Does this require extra investment? Absolutely. Will it cost you far less than you lose encountering one major crisis? We guarantee it.
- Training and practice
You didn’t think you were just going to read a list and go knock it out of the park, did you? Every skill takes practice to hone, and monitoring your online reputation is no different. Set up practice scenarios, surprise each other with mock hashtag hijackings, have competitions to see who can detect an unexpected incident the fastest, do whatever you can to simulate as many “out of the box” situations as you can.
The more ordinary you can make the extraordinary, the more effective you will be when the proverbial mess meets the fan.
Too often organizations let resolvable issues become full-on crisis situations simply because “nobody knew”. Follow these steps, and start taking responsibility for the health and well-being of your online reputation.
The BCM Blogging Team