Protecting and Maintaining Your Organizations Reputation

clip_image001In the wired world we live in, with so many levels of connection through the use of the internet it’s important that organisations have an understanding of, and way to manage their online reputation.

We should be aware that along with all the advantages that come with an online presence come risks; due to one of the key things of being online being openness, and an almost instant global reach.

There’s no denying that marketing, (and that’s part of what being online is all about) has changed, thanks to the internet.

Chances are you’re using traditional marketing methods, mixed with blogs, social networking sites, microblogs and much more; auction sites, trade message boards, community message boards, and more. You’re online and so are your supporters, and detractors.

With the way the internet works anyone, anywhere can talk about you, what you do, the services you provide. The interactions people have with any organisation be it a business or community group are some of the most talked about things in the online community.

It’s important for anyone with an online presence to have a set of guidelines covering:

  • What is said
  • Who says it
  • Who monitors what is said
  • Who monitors what is being said about the company

Staff need to know what the organisation’s policy in regard to online activity, especially when it comes to social networking sites; particularly Facebook and Twitter. Do you currently have policies in place?

Organisations need to also think about what staff can say, to empower staff to be ambassadors, and for them to also know they can and should let someone know when they see something about the organisation they work for on any forum, website or social network.

Everybody has the ability to monitor what is being said online, and ideally someone should be given the responsibility of, at minimum weekly, monitoring this.

With the use of Google Alerts you will be able to receive regular updates of mentions of your organisation, and you can even simply use Google to search for mentions of your organisation.

You’ll be able to find out, relatively easily, whether like your organisation and the services it provides. You’ll also be able to see anything bad being said about your organisation that has the potential to be damaging to your reputation.

Tuning into what people are saying about you gives you access to what your people, current and potential supporters are thinking. This means that managing your online reputation is now a vital factor in managing your organisation both on and offline.

In the event that you do come across anything negative you will have the opportunity to work toward putting things right.

It’s important that you respond to anything negative, any complaints you come across; and being timely in doing this is really important. Simply letting things sit is not doing your brand any good. You need to be seen to be acting in the interest of your organisation, brand and stakeholders.

Avoid overreacting to any negatives; always make sure you’re reflected well online. Chances are your online connections, fans, friends, followers what ever you like to call them will be part of your defense if and when things go wrong.