Now, more than ever before, there is so much more to think about when considering the reputation of your brand. With the public so easily able to reach brands and share their content and/or their own experiences, the potential for online reputational trouble is huge. We’ve all seen what can happen when this isn’t handled properly - some of the most memorable examples seeing Nestle, Burger King and United Airlines (to name but a few) upsetting their followers and failing to deal with it.
So how can you make sure you’re on top of all this?
Tip 1: Define your persona
Your brand persona isn’t just your logo, colours, and website design – it’s the entirety of the face you show to the world. This includes your employees (and what they’re doing on social media), partnerships, suppliers, volunteers and any celebs or influencers that you’re working with. All this (and more) needs to be considered when defining how your brand can appear, and what to do when things don’t go to plan.
Tip 2: Implement processes
It’s vital to have defined processes in place, and documented, for when things go wrong. What if you’re accused of something by a customer, if your product’s failed or put people at risk or if your staff or management have been found to have behaved inappropriately? These, and a myriad of other possibilities mean that if you have a process in place, and someone to manage it, you won’t be caught in a panic if the worst happens.
Tip 3: Working with influencers or celebs? Do your due diligence!
If you are working with influencers or ambassadors, make sure you research them thoroughly before committing to an agreement. They will be the face of your brand, and it’s easy to miss things about people, even from years back, that could be at odds with what you stand for.
Tip 4: Make sure your risk assessment is up to date
What could go wrong with each of your campaigns?
Are you talking about sensitive topics (including political ‘hot potatoes’)? Are you a food brand who could be accused of causing food poisoning? In both cases, it’s vital to have approved statements ready to go, even if it's a holding statement while you gather your response. And… make these statements human, not corporate.
Are your products aimed at children? Make sure your community managers are up to speed on what they can and can’t say, on privacy and protection laws for minors. Best practice re tone and language is arguably more important here than anywhere else.
Keep a thorough record of what could go wrong, and make sure it’s kept up to date and communicated with all stakeholders.
Tip 5: Don’t overdo it on awareness days
Awareness days can be a great hook, a genuine reason for talking to your followers about your business. But have you ever seen brands jumping on every awareness day or month going, with no genuine link to their product or service? It doesn’t make them relevant, it comes across as disingenuous bandwagoning. Choose a few that are genuinely interesting to your following and stick to those.
Tip 6: Be consistent with content and community
Big social marketing campaigns can be busy. They can generate millions of engagements, and introduce your brand to a huge wave of new followers. But what next?
Don't drop everyone between campaigns, keep them engaged and a part of your brand community. This also has the benefit of meaning you don't start from scratch each time you do a campaign (loses you money and often the goodwill of your audience). You'll have advocates already engaging who will share that content.
Remember, you can’t always be perfect, but you can be genuine and have a plan for the worst case scenario– it’s a lot of upfront work (we know!) but it’ll work hard for you in the long run.
If you need any help with online reputation management and protection for your brand,