Be Proactive – Build a Positive Online Presence
As a business owner, you are aware of the importance of positive online reputation. A trusted online brand brings trust, confidence, and sales, which are ultimately reflected in revenue growth and profitability. Negative online publicity can be extremely damaging to your image and hinder your business goals.
Online Reputation Management (ORM) helps establish a positive web presence by monitoring, analysis and influencing.
Online reputation services work by tracking what’s written about a client on the Web, carrying out search engine optimization, promoting positive pages, and creating other sites that will push damaging references off the first pages of search results. Do they really work?
It’s almost impossible to get negative pages, comments, Tweets or reviews taken down, but ORM aims at placing enough positive references above to push them off the first page or two of search engine results. However, while professional ORM firms can help businesses influence results on Google and other search engines, only the company itself can repair the real damage to its reputation.
Digital Crisis Management
When negative comments published online go ‘viral’ or spread to various social media channels, you have a digital crisis on your hands. The actions that you take to bring the crisis under control quickly, to minimize its impact on your company’s brand are known as Digital Crisis Management.
Here are some recent examples of Digital Crisis Management and mis-management:
- Domino’s had a digital crisis on their hands when a video showed up online showing two employees laughing as they prepared food in a deliberately unsanitary way. The video went viral and quickly garnered hundreds of thousands of views. The company posted a YouTube response of its own and even established a Twitter account to answer direct questions from customers. The crisis management team quickly analyzed the problem, assessed the channels, and adapted to the situation.
- Amazon was faced with its own consumer uproar when without warning; many gay and lesbian-themed books began disappearing from the site’s search results and sales rankings. The Twittersphere instantly reacted, accusing the company of discrimination and censorship; and demanding a response. But Amazon did not respond at all. Twitter rapidly filled Amazon’s silence with boycott threats, petitions and caustic accusations.
- Toyota had to recall 2.3 million vehicles because of faulty accelerator pedals. It was a calamity for a brand that staked its reputation on safety and quality. As the online censure started and gathered pace, Toyota’s initial response was slow. Toyota’s social media team then decided to address the situation head on, via Digg, Twitter and YouTube. They created a Digg Dialogg on a dedicated video site. Within a week, the Dialogg had received 1.2 million views. In addition to reaching a fairly big audience, the Dialogg helped Toyota achieve transparency and prevented the image crisis from getting out of hand.
- Dell learnt from its ‘Dell Hell’ crisis, when thousands of disgruntled Dell customers saturated the blogosphere with their rants. After it ultimately recovered, the company has taken to active social media efforts to engage customers in the product development process. While its ‘IdeaStorm’ is more about PR than generating ideas, the program has both acted as a suggestion box and an effective social media campaign. There is now an IdeaStorm Twitter feed and Facebook integration on IdeaStorm that encourages users to post their ideas online.
- Taco Bell’s parent company was sued over the contents of its meat. Taco Bell explicitly declared the claims false and shared with the public its percentages and recipe. The company quickly fired up a multi-platform PR campaign, which included traditional local market newspaper ads, but focused on online marketing with a YouTube channel, Facebook page, and more. Taco Bell’s existing consumer base responded overwhelmingly well to the campaign.
Keys to Digital Crisis Management:
- Monitor your brand 24/7 using online resources
- Respond immediately to comments
- Keep your messaging consistent
- Keep your employees in the loop
- Establish a digital crisis strategy