You should regularly audit your reputation management plan even if it’s unlikely your business will suffer the scale of a PR crisis that the likes of Dominos, Toyota, and Nestlé have had to deal with.
I regularly talk about needing to monitor online communications channels to see what other people are saying about you. But monitoring is simply not enough. You also need to “fire drill” your reputation management plan to make sure your organization can handle a social media firestorm.
And what happens if you haven’t even set up channels for your brand on sites like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, etc?
Silence won’t handle a reputation
Burying your head in the sand or traditional reputation management procedures that typically rely on written press releases and press statements isn’t going to cut it in an era where customers are increasingly used to interacting with brands online.
So how do you prepare for reputation management?
1. Set-up a Reputation Management Team – if you haven’t done so already.
2. Ensure the team has sufficient training and hands-on experience communicating with customers on social media channels
3. Set up response channels – if you haven’t done so already – such as a blog, YouTube account, Twitter account, etc
4. Star listening: Set up alerts and RSS feeds. Subscribe to Radian6 or Google Alerts.
5. Make it someone’s job to listen everyday. You never know when a reputation will hit.
6. Imagine the worst PR scenarios possible to hit your business. Prepare for them by making sure you understand and can use the social channels like YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, etc, you’ve set up.
7. Optimize a website or blog you intend to use for reputation management with keywords that can be used by the opposition.
8. Nurture meaningful connections with major players on the digital platforms who have strong followings on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, etc, so that they may help you in times of crisis.
9. Run regular fire drills – at least once a quarter because the digital platforms and tools change so quickly. You need to know you’re team is prepared.
10. Keep listening
11. Be ready to respond immediately – or at least within 12 hours.