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Online Reputation Management Part 4 – Preparation

Posted by | 10:22am on Friday, September 19, 2008

In order to stay competitive, you must at least monitor your own reputation within the blogosphere and in other social media venues. If you have time, you should also monitor your industry in general and your competitors. 

Under the Microscope by JBHillThis is the final part of a four-part series about online reputation management. On Tuesday, I discussed the importance of defending your brand online. On Wednesday, I explained how the online channel directly effects the healthcare industry in particular. And on Thursday, I wrote about online reputation management gone wrong – a case study of the PR ramifications.

Today, I will be discussing business trends regarding online reputation management and end with some thoughts about your strategy for times when the online buzz is positive. Subscribing will ensure you don’t miss any of these topics (email and RSS subscriptions both available on homepage in upper-right).

Are My Competitors Monitoring Their Reputation?

Buzz Marketing produced a survey sponsored by Marketing Profs and Trackur about new media business usage. The survey showed that 58% of respondents did not have a strategic plan in place to manage their online reputation. 37% didn’t even use free tools to monitor the social media buzz about their brands.

In order to stay competitive, you must at least monitor your own reputation within the blogosphere and in other social media venues. If you have time, you should also monitor your industry in general and your competitors.

Blue Skies Never Last

If you have read this series and think, “I’m off the hook because everyone loves my brand,” think again. Even when your current buzz is great, you must prepare for disaster just in case.

Consider these questions if everything is fine for you today:

  • Do you have a crisis management plan in place? Which staff member is in charge of blog PR? Do they know best practices and the leading blogs in the industry?
  • Do you have a formal policy in place regarding employee blogs? What do you do if a staffer writes a post mentioning your business or industry?
  • Do you have a presence online? How will people know they can trust you if you don’t interact with them?
  • Do you own your brand’s name across various platforms? Learn from mistakes made by ExxonMobil and the television show Mad Men. Exxon didn’t snap up any variation of their brand name on Twitter and they took a hit (luckily “Janet” from Exxon was more helpful than hurtful). The AMC-Mad Men folks didn’t have a plan in place when their characters started chatting on Twitter and the subsequent dust-up was a PR disaster.

Todd Friesen has a must-read article in this month’s edition of OMMA: The Problem With Perfection (subscription required). In the article, Friesen answers the following questions:

“Why does reputation management have to be solely concerned with repairing or defending a reputation? Can it not be about crafting a reputation to be about specific things? Is there a step beyond simply viewing a reputation as good or bad? Absolutely.”

Friesen writes about getting the full benefits from a positive online reputation and what to do when you’d like to shift the focus without incurring a major disaster. It’s good advice for those of us enjoying a rosy online reputation.

In Closing

I hope this series of posts about online reputation management has been helpful. I would love to hear your comments – especially if something in particular resonated with you or if you think there is a glaring omission in this advice.

Finally, I hope you consider subscribing to this blog. It’s free, you can cancel whenever you like, and it will ensure you don’t miss any future posts (email and RSS subscriptions both available on homepage in upper-right).

(Photo courtesy of JBHill via Flickr)

About Wendy White

Since founding Siren Interactive in 1999, Wendy has been recognized as a thought leader at the intersection of niche pharma brands, patient empowerment and online marketing. Her vision for how the internet can facilitate interactions and provide crucial information that patients, caregivers and their healthcare providers previously struggled to find has propelled Siren to the forefront of relationship marketing for rare disorder therapies.

View other posts from Wendy

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