Brand Reputation Management in the Age of Social Media

    “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you'll do things differently.”

    Post by AMA Michiana member Aaron Charles of Villing & Co.

    By now, you’ve probably seen this quote countless times. It’s originally attributed to investment guru, Warren Buffett. No matter how many times I’ve heard or read that, it always makes me pause. There’s so much truth there. And we see the proof of it on a daily basis. The “publish” or “tweet” button is a dangerous thing. Social media has made it much easier to connect, but with that has come an increased opportunity to tarnish your reputation.

    It’s one thing when we’re talking about personal social media use, but this discussion takes on new meaning when viewed through the lens of brand reputation management. This article from Forbes does a good job of outlining the particulars at play. Increasingly, brands need to have clear guidelines in place to help protect their online reputation. Doing so will make sure that there isn’t a negative effect on your bottom line. Here are a few key tactics to keep in mind.

    Have a Clearly Outlined Social Media Brand Team

    It is imperative that you have a team in place to monitor your online brand and respond appropriately to any comments that merit further discussion. Who handles posting to your social accounts? Who monitors social responses? Who will be the go-to person in a crisis situation? Even if your social team is comprised of one person, that person should know who to contact if there is a negative customer response or your brand reputation is called into question online. It’s probably a good idea to put some type of “checks and balances” system in place so that there isn’t just one person at the controls when chaos ensues. Waiting until it happens is far too late. Put your team in place now so that you’re prepared to protect your brand reputation.

    Prepare a Written Contingency Plan

    How will you handle a crisis communications situation? To answer this question, consider drafting a written plan for responding to negative online comments and reviews or responses on social media. Again, you don’t want to leave your social media team hanging. Set them up for success by getting everyone on the same page. Write out your plan.

    Seamlessly Transfer Account Information

    When someone leaves your team, don’t let your strategy leave with them. Make sure that you have a central place where account information like passwords and email addresses are stored. You don’t want to find yourself in the situation where someone leaves your organization and they are the only ones who know your passwords and crisis communications plans. Have outgoing team members transfer account information long before they are out the door.

    Listen to Your Mother

    In the end, it’s best to simply be nice. Just like mom said – if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. The best way to preserve your brand reputation is to not get into sticky situations in the first place. Social media gives your brand wonderful opportunities to connect with and impress your customers, but it can quickly digress into dangerous territory if you aren’t careful. When you receive negative comments or responses, don’t stoop to that level. Respond with class and attend to the situation as quickly as you can. If necessary, follow up and make sure the situation is resolved. But don’t ruin your brand reputation with one tweet or comment by responding in kind to negativity. Stay above the fray.

    Learning Opportunity

    Brand reputation management is an ever-changing field. To stay on top of the latest trends and advice, AMA Michiana is offering a premium business networking luncheon on May 23 with Reputation.com’s Chief Marketing Officer, Mark Lange. The luncheon takes place from 11:30am to 1:00pm at St. Joseph Conference Center at Holiday Inn in Mishawaka. For more information, including how to register, visit our website.


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