The nature of social media means news, good and bad, travels faster now than ever before.
Consequently, managing one’s online reputation is no easy feat. Companies with a keen eye on their virtual reputation typically have a media monitoring strategy in place. And while media monitoring, especially of social media channels, can help identify potential crises and mitigate damage by allowing companies to respond quickly and intelligently, it is also essential in creating an effective reputation management plan, allowing you to be proactive rather than just reactive.
1. Understand tone
To create a proactive reputation management plan, companies must have a fundamental understanding of their current digital audience, media monitoring can give you this. Analysis of previous audience engagements can identify which topics/corporate actions have resonated well with a company’s audience, and which have resonated poorly. This intelligence allows companies to create tailored responses should these topics, or similar ones, arise in the future.
2. Look to geography
Media monitoring can also help identify which geographical regions are most influential in a company’s social space. This allows companies to critically assess the area’s cultural, political, and economic influences to get a better understanding of how certain issues and topics impact this region. Again, this type of intelligence allows companies to tailor their messaging and engagement strategies for their target demographic. You want to be able to respond appropriately.
3. Compare online reputations of competitors
Closely monitoring competitors also offers further audience insights. By having a better understanding of what competitors have done when faced with online adversity, how the public has responded, and what the tone of interactions has been, a company can better evaluate its own current reputation management initiatives. What’s that saying about keeping your friends close?
4. Be transparent
But understanding a digital audience is only one piece of the reputation management puzzle. Another is transparency. Companies need to be as open and as sincere as possible when it comes to engagement strategies, because hiding anything even remotely important can be very bad for a company’s reputation. In order to proactively manage their reputation online, companies should strive to be honest and upfront with themselves and their customers about any potential risks, conflicts, or criticisms that may arise around their product or service.
Transparency helps foster stronger relationships, better aligns a brand with its audience and employees, helps to quickly find solutions to problems, and increases engagement. It also allows communications and public relations professionals to create an outreach and engagement plan surrounding announcements and data releases, which, in turn, allows companies to stay ahead of any possible backlash. Entrepreneur.com’s five examples of transparency in action demonstrates it’s potential effectiveness.
Keeping a high online profile comes with its risks, and even with the utmost preparation, there will always be some situations that can’t be predicted. Nevertheless, it’s crucial for companies to research ways to better connect with their audiences.
With media monitoring, companies can proactively manage their online reputations, create well-thought-out communications plans, and continuously foster positive relationships with their customers.