I always say, “If you’re not branding yourself, others will brand you for you.” This is especially essential when attempting to control your reputation. In this article, I outline 7 reputation management tips to help you steer your brand’s image and also cite two cases of unfortunate, bad reputation management. It’s crisis communications at its best!
There are tons of websites and social media platforms dedicated to celebrating, assessing, and rating brands. While you can’t please everyone, what’s a brand (personal or biz related) to do if people start trashing you? The negative comments can come in the form of a disgruntled employee, unsatisfied customer, or just about anyone. It may be your inkling to ignore them, but guess what? You can’t and definitely shouldn’t, or you may face a situation that will grow in epic proportions. Your best bet is to be proactive, if feasible. Relax. Read. Relate. Release! Here’s whatcha do:
1. Do a search (Google Smoogle or Ding Bing) and look up your name.
Take note of what you find and the rankings of this information. You should be aware of what people are saying about you in the cyber world. While I often believe that other people’s opinions of you is none of your business, you still need to know whether people are overtly trashing you and actively shaping other people’s perception of your image. Heaven forbids if this information ranks higher than your website and social media spaces! Don’t let this negativity become people’s first impression of you.
2. Take control of the message.
If you can start a blog, please do so. It’s not only a way to establish yourself as a thought-leader, but it also serves as a platform to iron out the faulty details and share your side of the story in the event that push comes to shove (watch how I creatively butcher this phrase in my video!). Use your blog as an instrument to inform people if something has been recalled or needs clarification, but also make sure to spread this news on your social networks in case your blog isn’t frequented as often as desired.
3. Take control of all social media spaces.
Secure your brand’s name on platforms that you plan on using or anticipate growing. It is best practices to secure your name on all platforms, but I realize that this may not be realistic for most people. At the very least, lock it down where your audience will flock for information. This will enable you to avoid the fictitious version of you Tweeting, Instagramming, Scoping, Blabbing, etc. information that conflicts with your brand’s image. Hurry, no, run to your social media platform (after reading this article and subscribing ) and secure your brand’s profile name!
4. Leverage YouTube to setup your online presence.
Remember that YouTube is currently the #2 biggest search engine that’s out there. If people are searching for a topic that you cover, you want your information (via video) to pop up in the search results thanks to YouTube. Do at least one introductory video, so you set the tone and make your official introduction to your audience. If there is a crisis, you can use YouTube to shape and control the messaging.
5. If and when the situation escalates, get yourself a PR rep.
Get an expert who can speak on your behalf and craft the message on your blog, YouTube/social media platforms, live stream, press releases, etc. Your expert should be able to dry your tears and hold your hand as you navigate through these muddy waters.
6. If the temperature rises further, hire yourself a crisis communications team.
It may take a village to control the damage. Your team should help you to shape your messaging in ways that will address your audience’s, particularly your disgruntled audience’s, needs. It’s perfectly okay if you need the pros to handle your damage control.
7. Be transparent.
This one should really be first and foremost, since you should use it throughout your reputation management efforts. Don’t lie about a situation or deny your audience’s feelings about you, your services, or your product. People will discover the truth and will look at you differently. You may even lose your fans. If you messed up, this is the perfect time to fess up. It’s easier said than done, but it’ll save you heartaches and pain in the long run. Plus people really appreciate and are forgiving of those who sincerely (keyword sincerely) apologize for their faults. Be RAW BRANDED® and authentic in your apology.
Once again, in my video, I note two examples of unfortunately handled PR crises. Please listen and learn from these stories. Once again, no one is perfect. The best we can do is be preventive and learn from others. Most importantly, be authentic in who we are and in our relations with others. Be RAW BRANDED®!
© 2015 – 2017, Renee A. Walker. All rights reserved.