Reputation Management & The Digital Age

February 25th, 2010 No Comments

Negative reputation management and crisis communications has always been important components of strategic communications. With the recent rise of user-generated content, however, the tactics to deal with these important communication challenges have changed.

A recent eMarketer post asks the question “how can you use social media to fix campaigns that don’t click with your targets?” How can you react to negative comments about your brand?

As the graph demonstrates, while direct engagement is still the most popular option (although this could be over the phone, e-mail, SMS, social networking sites, or other channels), other important methods to control your reputation online are also popular.

33% of respondents chose to take this negative feedback by improving their product or service. This is one of the tremendous underreported benefits of social media and online marketing. Social media channels provide a cheap way to engage in consumer research and brand monitoring, helping product creators understand usability and what customers want.

24% encourage others to speak more positively. This ties in with the 12% that create content to try to push content down on the search engines. The best response to a negative comment on, Yelp, TripAdvisor, or other user-generated review site is often a real, honest positive review.

17% issued and distributed press releases or comments to address issues. This also can tie in with the 12% that create content to push negative results down search engines as online press release services can be very useful SEO tools.

14% attempted to get the negative comment removed by the publisher or blogger. Unless the content was blatantly false, this is probably the least effective manner as most publishers would not be likely to remove their content. But there are occasions in which it is appropriate.

12% engaged in SEO – Search Engine Optimization – as part of their reputation management plan – and tried to push the offending content down in the search engines. People today search for information via search engines, such as Google, Yahoo and Bing. Thus, if you can push negative information down, via search engine optimization strategies, than this can be an effective way to control how your brand is viewed. This is one of the newer options in the crisis communication and reputation management toolkit.

What do you do? How do you handle negative online comments about your brand? What do you think of these responses?

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