How even global brands can suffer an online reputation attack
With the influence and authority of digital platforms rocketing, it’s now fundamental for all brands to have control and knowledge of online reputation management (ORM). ORM is simply knowing what people are saying about your brand on digital platforms and taking steps to control, fix and monitor your brand’s profile.
So, surely multi-national companies and global celebrities have created an unbreakable ORM system to keep their names basking in positive light? Apparently not…
The vulnerability of international names
If you think conglomerates and world-famous celebrities have a posse of digital experts in charge of their ORM, you might be correct. But that doesn’t mean they don’t also fall foul to an online reputation mishap.
Take Twitter and Donald Trump: the outspoken President of the United States was left bereft of his infamous Twitter mouthpiece for 11 minutes on the 2nd of November. An apparently disgruntled Twitter employee deactivated Trump’s account — which attracts around 41.7 million followers — as a final act before parting company with the social media firm.
According to reports, Twitter is “conducting a full internal review” into the incident — but is there an excuse for such an influential platform to so badly mismanage one of its most high-profile accounts and will Twitter ever completely recover from this online management error?
This isn’t the first time a global brand has messed up online. In 2014, American Apparel mistakenly used a picture of the Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster for a Fourth of July promotion, erroneously believing it was an image of fireworks. American Apparel responded to the mass of complaints by stating that a young member of staff had used it unknowingly. Despite this explanation, the brand’s reputation was dented and it lost a chunk of its following for its ignorance.
Remember when BP CEO, Tony Haywood said he “wanted his life back” after the tragic oil spill in 2010? It’s clear that even international businesses are vulnerable to damaging their reputations. So, what do you need to have in place to ensure your online reputation is safeguarded?
Tips on securing your company’s online reputation
If someone searched for your brand, what would they find? If the answer is “not sure” or “the odd bad review and complaint”, then you need to look at your brand’s online reputation.
Create a blog and publish content regularly
Blogs are fantastic for giving your brand a voice. They’re one of the best ways to achieve page-one rankings on search engines — which will make it easier for you to respond and control your online reputation should anything happen.
Update your content
Keeping your website updated is essential to good ORM. Optimising webpages, writing fresh blog copy and building quality links with high-domain sites will boost your authority with search engines. This gives you more authority to deal with negative reviews, reputation attacks and company mishaps that might affect how customers perceive your brand.
Closely monitor and quickly respond to customers on social media
Don’t forget your social media accounts! Many customers will leave negative comments (if they have any) here, so again, respond to these and try to resolve the issue — never just delete them. Try to take the conversation away from the public sphere via messaging.
Similarly, if there are bad reviews left on external review websites, take the time to answer these to help reduce the negative impact they could have on your company.
Use available software
Today, there are various tools (such as Google Alerts) to help you monitor your brand and how it’s talked about online. This saves you time and gives you a greater view of your brand’s reputation.
One of the most important aspects of good ORM is simply being aware. Monitor your online presence as closely as you can and think before you share on social media.