In cyberspace, a single negative review, tweet or Facebook post can inflict damage on a business that is difficult to undo. Effectively defending your company’s online reputation demands taking a proactive role rather than waiting until your company is attacked to jump into crisis-management mode. Here are some preventative steps you can take immediately:
- Control your brand — Registering a website domain in your business name and doing the same on social media platforms helps prevent others from posing as your company online.
- Publish your own content — If someone Googles your company, negative information posted by others may appear at the top of the search results. By publishing blogs, articles, videos, social media messages and other content that is in line with your brand, you can increase the likelihood of your posts appearing high in search rankings.
- Encourage and respond to posts and reviews — Develop a record of positive repute by asking satisfied customers and other business contacts to post about or review your products or services online. Responding to positive feedback with thanks and encouragement can inspire more people to voice their appreciation. If someone writes a negative post, responding respectfully with your side of the story demonstrates candor and concern for the truth.
- Establish social media and communications policies — Guidelines should be put in place so that anyone who communicates on behalf of your company on social media or anywhere else only should have a clear understanding of which topics should be discussed, what should be kept private and how customer service issues should be handled.
- Follow online conversations about your company —By keeping aware of the reports and opinions people publish about your company, you can compile positive feedback while also catching negative impressions when they happen. Among the means available are setting up alerts via Google or using social media tracking software.
- Know what to do in a crisis — Plan for the worst by devising a crisis management plan. It should designate who at your company will be in charge of speaking for the company in the event that negative information online poses significant harm. It should also address who should be in charge of developing and implementing damage control measures.
The experienced employment law and business law attorneys at Hemmer DeFrank Wessels, PLLC provide legal guidance and reputation management advice to business owners and corporate boards in Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana. Please call 859-344-1188 or contact us online me with any questions.