The online reputation of a brand is everything. It can assist you in charging a premium, differentiating yourself from the competition, attracting talent, and converting clients during the purchasing decision-making process. Given the stakes, it’s surprising that less than half of respondents in a PR News survey do not have updated reputation management policies in place.
We recognize that if you don’t know what measures to take, managing, reducing, and resolving a crisis can be exceedingly difficult. That’s why we compiled a list of crisis tips for before, during, and after a crisis, so that if one does occur, your internet reputation recovery strategy will be that much more effective.
How to Make Your Online Reputation Repair Strategy More Effective?
#1 The calm before the storm: GOAL – Reduce the threats to one’s online reputation.
The first step of online reputation repair is to plan ahead of time, rather than waiting until a disaster occurs. Handling reputational concerns that have already surfaced is referred to as crisis reputation management – a reactive strategy to limit harm. The quickness with which you answer makes online reputation repair easier. The more quickly you act, the better. This is why, in the first place, it is critical to have governance mechanisms in place to limit risks.
Here are a few tips to help you become more proactive in minimizing reputational risk.
#a) Analyze internal processes to spot potential weaknesses
No business can ever anticipate all conditions or acts that could lead to a crisis, but knowing what could cause one is tremendously important in managing one. After all, you can’t prepare if you’re not aware!
Internal due diligence is required to develop strategic contingency plans. This procedure includes assessing issues that may have an impact on a company’s reputation.
Weak links that may have an impact on reputation management include:
- Data security, such as a GDPR breach
- Health and safety of staff
- Weak product-testing methods could lead to product recalls and a slew of dissatisfied customers.
- Financial underperformance
- Leadership’s reputation and workplace culture
- Corporate accountability
- Pending lawsuits
Because not every unfavorable comment or poor customer service review necessitates the attention of your crisis response team, it’s critical to also understand what constitutes a crisis at your organization.
Clear accountability, leadership, and involvement across multiple teams are required for reputation management. Risk, compliance, internal and external communications, human resources, and other operational functions that regularly interact with external stakeholders such as customers, suppliers, and investors are all part of these teams.
When completing the ‘probability and impact’ risk assessment, ensure that all relevant teams’ viewpoints are gathered so that no stone is left unturned.
#b) Create a crisis plan for each potential flaw you discover.
Once you’ve determined what could go wrong, it’s important to consider how you’ll make things right if this circumstance arises, which is the first step in your actual online reputation restoration.
Begin developing communication material for each of the preset scenarios, asking yourself questions such as:
- What exactly is a public relations crisis?
- What is the procedure for escalation?
- Who is in charge, what is their contact information, and what are their responsibilities?
- How will the chain of command be formed?
- Who serves as the primary external spokesperson?
- What happens if the influencers you’re working with or any linked companies face backlash as well?
- Who is in charge of writing a response, and how should the response look?
- What channels will you use to distribute statements, and who will be in charge of each?
The last thing you want to do during a reputational crisis is the scramble to generate a press release template or craft a tweet, therefore we propose pre-planning your crisis communications response for each scenario you identified in your ‘probability and impact’ risk assessment.
#c) Keep an eye on your brand, competitors, and industry in the media.
Explosive news articles, unhappy customer reviews, nasty social media comments, and reputation damage all go hand in hand. This is why brands must be aware of what is being said about them online.
When we consider that the average person shares approximately 9 pieces of content online every day and that 90 percent of the world’s data was generated in the previous two years alone, the digital noise can be deafening, causing vital conversations to be missed.
#2 In the eye of the storm: GOAL – Contain a crisis
When a crisis occurs, online reputation management’s responsibility is to contain it before it spreads like wildfire. Following the actions outlined above will significantly improve reputational resilience, but more steps must be taken to attain full success.
#a) Configure media monitoring alerts to improve your chances of repairing your reputation.
Typically, reputational crises begin as murmurs. Being able to detect these murmurs will allow you to put a stop to them before they become uncontrollable.
To aid in this process, communication professionals use real-time media monitoring alerts and digests, which condense online discussion into a handful of items you should be aware of. Most media monitoring companies deliver different alerts/digestion reports based on the unique demands of stakeholders.
#b) Create dashboards for brand reputation and share findings with important stakeholders.
While quick notifications and daily/weekly digest reports are important for staying informed, you need to go beyond the surface level and do a reputation analysis to truly grasp how a developing issue is affecting your online reputation. This entails building brand dashboards within your media intelligence solution and analyzing metrics like sentiment, trending themes, reach, top posters, and the geographic dispersion of the conversation.
#c) Prepare your statement and your spokespersons.
It’s important to remember that the buzz may quiet down before you need to make a public statement, but as previously stated, having crisis communications statements ready is always a smart idea.
If you feel that this is a problem that must be addressed, begin preparing your spokespeople and revising your pre-planned statements to make them more relevant to the current situation.
When it comes to crisis communication outreach, we suggest looking for relevant influencers and journalists and starting to communicate your side of the story on social media or through our newswire distribution services. If you connect directly with journalists or your social community, you can ensure that your messaging is consistent and that you have as much influence over the narrative as possible. Don’t forget to adjust your statements based on the channels where the topic is most active.
#3 GOAL: Understand the long-term repercussions of the storm and seek to restore them.
Sometimes a crisis is unavoidable, and brands have no choice but to attempt to mitigate the bad impact. Knowing how much harm a crisis has done to your brand is critical if you want to go ahead. With this in mind, here’s how to assess the long-term consequences of a crisis and use reputation-repair tactics to effectively emerge on the other side.
#a) Perform a media analysis
It’s natural to want to put a brand image crisis behind you once the storm has passed, but the aftermath analysis is too rich in insights to ignore. Media intelligence has a role to play before, during, and after a crisis.
#b) Collaboration with influencers
One strategy for brands to mitigate the negative impact of a crisis and restore damage is to leverage the positive brand reputations of influencers.
While micro and mid-level influencers have a smaller audience, their dedicated and engaged groups trust them more than macro-influencers and celebrities. To guarantee your message remains authentic, work with influencers with whom you already have ties and ask them to express why they still enjoy working with your brand. Remember that influencers aren’t simply individuals; they can also be third-party organizations with power, such as a well-known health organization.
Some influencers may be advocates without pushing; a media intelligence tool will assist in identifying good remarks from those influential accounts. You should also use media intelligence insights from your brand research to prioritize which influencer relationships to pursue. For example, if specific groups of your audience are more concerned than others, collaborating with an influencer that speaks to that community should be undertaken to repair a ruined reputation.
#c) Improve your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) game.
More positive interactions generated through online content marketing can considerably aid in the suppression of search engine results that may jeopardize your online reputation. Given that 90 percent of Google traffic comes from the first page of search results, it’s apparent that Search Engine Optimization (SEO) abilities are also important in reputation management. As a result, whenever you generate content to support ORM initiatives, keep SEO in mind.
Here are a few online reputation restoration methods to help you lower the appearance of negative publicity on page 1 of search results:
- Create a public relations effort aimed towards trustworthy national news outlets, as pieces appearing on high-quality authoritative editorial websites, are more likely to appear on page one of search results.
- Encourage brand champions to submit positive reviews and social media comments, as social media profiles are also considered powerful authoritative websites by search engines.
- If the trending unfavorable search result is a press article, consider opportunities for a follow-up piece with a more positive spin, such as an interview in which you can put your side of the story across or highlight what you have done to remedy the situation.
- Contact reputation management organizations with experience in repairing reputations by de-indexing search results.
- Because Google ranks PPC advertisements higher than conventional listings, consider starting a campaign for your brand name on Google’s PPC Ads platform to push down search results.
In an economy where intangible assets such as brand equity account for 70% to 80% of market value, businesses are especially vulnerable to anything that harms their reputations. You can protect one of your most valuable assets – your brand – by following the preceding online reputation repair suggestions and having the correct crisis communication solutions in place. Do you want to talk about online reputation management in particular for your company? Hire the best digital marketing company now and let professionals help you. Professionals are experts and hiring them for your online reputation repair is the best idea.