6 Steps for Protecting Your Digital Reputation
As long as there have been brands, business owners worked hard to build and protect them. In the 1920’s, radio advertising was the go-to method of building a brand. In the 50’s, TV was the top tool. Now, business owners must focus their attention online on a wide array of platforms where their business appears.
When it comes to your company’s digital brand reputation, here are six important things to remember:
1. Never use a business page to promote heavy personal beliefs.
Even if you’re the content creator of the branded page, you should never post sensitive or non-relevant information on a branded page. People might have high brand loyalty, but they probably don’t want or need to see pictures from the CEO’s family vacation at Lake Tahoe or hear about their opinions on potentially controversial subjects like government and religion.
The personal information you post online can have a lasting effect on not only you and your personal digital reputation, but also on the brand you represent. You can be fun and talk about things that aren’t your brand like pop culture, but keep it light and keep it positive.
2. Examine your opportunities.
It’s important to assess the strengths and weaknesses of current social media channels and determine which are the most viable for your brand. Each channel provides unique solutions for connecting with your brand’s followers and there is no obligation to try and start up accounts on every one. Choose what will produce the best results now and reassess additional options down the road once you’ve gotten comfortable with your existing social media platforms.
3. Investigate what is already “out there” about your brand.
It’s important to know what’s already being said about your brand online. It’s pretty easy to find out. Just do a quick Google search for your brand. Try several different versions of how your brand might be identified, just to be sure you see it all.
Imagine you’ve been tasked with enhancing the digital reputation for American Airlines. There are many ways your company can be searched for using Google: American Airlines, American Air Lines, AA, What people are saying about American Airlines, American Airlines reviews, American Airlines Center, etc… Then, check out Yelp, CitySearch or other ratings websites and see if customers have voiced their opinions (positive and negative!) about you.
4. Use Social Media to represent your “second self” in a new realm.
Pushing your brand onto social media can allow you to reach new potential customers and/or business associates, so you’ll want the tone and focus of your pages to match the tone and focus of your company.
Social media allows for a “second self” to emerge as an around-the-clock representative for your company. Resist the urge to think too far outside the box and simply work on building a page that provides visitors with engaging content. Consistency goes a long way.
5. Never respond in frustration or anger in social media situations.
It happens to everyone. At some point your digital reputation will be challenged by an unhappy customer or associate through social media. How you handle it will dictate the success of your brand from that point forward. Never respond out of anger or frustration.
Take a deep breath, take a walk, take a break, talk to a co-worker about the right kind of response, but don’t react. Respond as politely as you can, and in a timely manner.
This might sound too simple, but if you wouldn’t say it at work, you should steer clear of saying it on social media. Once something is posted on social media, it becomes a PERMANENT public representation of the brand. The adage that “the customer is always right” is true, even on social media!
6. “The Web Doesn’t Forget”
It’s always important to consider the shelf life for online content. Volumes of content are digitally produced each day, with News Feeds and Twitter Feeds being constantly updating. BUT–once you post a comment or image online in a social platform, it has the potential to exist far beyond the traditional shelf life of other forms of media. Even if you delete a post, its fingerprint can still appear all over the rest of your brand.
Protecting your brand’s digital reputation is a constant challenge. Most of it will be reactive. You are reacting to the action of a customer in posting their thoughts on your brand. Whether positive or negative, responding professionally and timely is key. Customers are up to three times more likely to write a negative review than a positive review.
One negative review can cost a business as many as 30 potential customers and it can take up to 12 positive reviews to counteract that one negative review. 88% of people trust online reviews as much as their best friends’ recommendations.
No brand is perfect, so don’t focus on perfection. Focus on customer service and the positive reviews will follow. Do great work and people will sing your praises online.