The most critical part of managing a corporate online reputation is having a plan. This may sound obvious, but most Fortune 100 companies and top executives who we meet have no plan for how to handle their online reputation whether they are in a crisis mode or not.
Think of an online reputation crisis as a metaphorical gopher hole that has appeared in your yard. To eliminate this unwelcome problem, most companies try to quickly fill in that hole and might even plant some new flowers on top for good measure. This might fix the issue for now, but as soon as another hole appears, you’re back at square one.
With a plan, you have a better chance to prevent or mitigate the problem from the start. To formulate a solid strategy for how to best manage your corporate online presence, start by answering these questions:
- Which key stakeholders will see your online presence? (media/reporters, regulatory bodies, prospective clients/partners, your own employees, etc.)
- What impression do you want to make on them? (messaging, what do other people think about you and more)
- How are your key peers and/or competitors seen online? (Do they have multiple sites, images, Wikipedia, video, social media presence, in-depth articles, ads, reviews etc.?)
- What do your competitors have that could be opportunities for you?
- Do you have sufficient content on owned sites, third-party articles, social media, and crowd-sourced sites like Wikipedia and CrunchBase?
- Is it easy for searchers to find accurate, timely, third-party content about your brand?
- What are the important messages, articles and websites that should be seen; and which ones should not?
- If there is negativity appearing in your online reputation, what are the underlying causes? (old story that has not been put to rest? nothing new to talk about? people talking about you rather than your ideas?)
- What are the potential threats your reputation could face and how have you prepared for them?
By answering these question, you are well on your way to formulating a plan for how to avoid further gopher holes in your garden, and you’ll be prepared for how to best protect and defend your corporate reputation.
Sam Michelson, Founder & CEO, Five Blocks