With more and more people using social media anyone who is in business must understand how to manage their brands reputation online and their own as the two are inextricably linked.
As has been shown quite graphically over the past few weeks this can become life-threatening (fatal stabbing in Brisbane after a online argument on Facebook was taken into the real world in Brisbane), or damage your brands reputation beyond repair. How do you handle negative feedback or even someone taking umbrage at something you said online?
Have you ever recieved a negative comment or perhaps a whole post about your brand or yourself? What do you do?
Have you ever found out about negative feedback from someone else because you weren’t monitoring your brands online reputation yourself?
Online Reputation Management is very important as fractal-ization of your brands messages spreads across the web. The first step to this is of course to monitor what people are saying and the simplest way to do this is to use a couple of sites that are useful for just this purpose:
- Google Alerts: This is probably the easiest option for many new and smaller businesses. You will have to first have a Google account, but if you have a website you will have already submitted it to Googles’ fantastic Webmasters pages, and it is here that you can set up a Google Alert not only on your main keywords but on your brand itself. I monitor “Annie Infinite” as a comprhensive search – note the inverted comma’s you will need to use these to be sure your alert is monitoring the whole phrase that is your brands name.
- Trackur: This tools also crawls blogs, news sites, images and videos to track your brand and name across the web you can customize the search much more than a Google Alert and you can then subscribe to it in RSS.
- Naymz: This is another great reputation management tool, you will create a profile including all your various online profiles, blogs, sites ect and once you have done this you can use their reputation monitor to track what people are saying about you.
What to do when you find comments about you:
Decide: on how you will respond to the comments, you may decide to do nothing at all, you may be overjoyed to find a wonderful comment on you or your brand and respond with thanks and you may find a comment or post that holds nothing but negativity and even perhaps a very negative perception of your brand.There are various ways to respond, you may decide it is not worth adding to the argument and allow the storm in the teacup to dissipate naturally.
If this is impossible because the person is taking things further by reposting and commenting again and again, or stirring up more gossip you will need to respond and this is where it can get tricky:
If it is true: Issue a statement to them and on your site addressing what has happened, offer to sort out the problem in some way. If needed engage a crisis communication expert.
If it is not true: Politely ask the site owner to remove the comment from the site, issue a statement on your blog and/or other social profiles such as in Facebook notes and SEO the statement so that it is highly ranked in search engines under that topic. You may need to consult a lawyer.
One organisation I know asked their fans to respond (with courtesy) rather than respond themselves and this worked very well and even gained them more fans.
Response: This is when you will take action on your decision. Start by participating in the discussion and be honest, ask if there is anything you can do to rectify this person’s opintion. Address what has been said and counter with thoughtfullly prepared statements that do not hold any emotion, anger or retribution. If this does not de-escalate the problem you may need to change tactics a little:
When faced with a negative situation, where you have done no wrong or have been misrepresented - it is a good idea to keep in mind that there is no reason to take anything personally. This is just some persons opinion, their perception and though it may rankle you will not change their minds by reacting to it badly. Remember also that nothing others do is because of you, but as a projection of their own reality.
There are many reasons people do this, they may not like something in themselves and will project it onto you, something you said may push an old button in a way that has no reflection on what you actually said, and sometimes it is all as simple as the other person gains attention from making negative statements.
None of this is really about you, when you understand that and do not take it on, it becomes a lot easier to allow the natural course of events to take their course and for the negative attention to die out.
One thing though, DO NOT REACT IN THE MOMENT AND DO NOT EVER RETALIATE WITH ANGER! if you do become upset and react with negative comments of your own this can and often does escalate the attention and the problem. Always take a moment to breathe and think about your reaction – is it because you have taken on the criticism? or because it has pushed a button?
This is the time to take on the lesson and the lesson may be that it is time for you to let go of the need to hang on to negative statements of others and stand in your own truth – that you are worthy … and as my wonderful, wise 16y.o. son says, “Your opinion of me is none of my business!”
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- 4 Essential Uses of Google Alerts (socialwebschool.com)
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