Listed below are 10 solid principles on which to base your new online reputation management strategy. However, before getting to that, it’s a good idea to go over the basics. This section will be about developing a solid understanding of the concepts at play here, primarily the ways in which internet technology has changed the Public Relations games.
In many ways your strategy for controlling online representation should function along the same lines as it would using more traditional information sources. When negative perceptions threaten your valuable reputation you must choose whether or not it is worth responding. The only change digital technology brings to the table is that it changes the potential scope. Now anyone can post anything anonymously and potentially have it seen by millions of people, whether the information shared is credible or not. The online aspect is simply a new platform in which information about you or your company can be disseminated.
There is marked change in power dynamics now as internet technology erodes the solid lock that credible or influential sources once exerted on the flow of information. It is a mistake to assume that negative press on the internet is beneath your company’s notice nowadays, as such information can spread rapidly across the web and permanently alter public perception. There is no buffer from public criticism in the digital world. Everything is considered as being within the public domain. It is best not to look at this change as a negative but as a free means in which companies and individuals can influence the public conversation and send a positive message to bolster their reputation.
1. Be Proactive
Many sources agree that a strong reputation is a company’s life blood. What this means is that you should strive to be proactive. If you do not bother to use digital platforms to cultivate a positive reputation then you are letting a valuable resource go to waste. As they say,” A good offense is the best defense.” If you wait for someone to attack you before you start trying to develop your online reputation then you will have nothing to defend yourself with when you come under attack. On the other hand, if you are active in developing a positive reputation online then you will have solid evidence and people willing to defend you when the spammers start throwing paint.
2. Importance of Transparency
Whether companies like it or not, information is free now. Companies should strive to interact with the public and their customers by being as transparent as possible. Transparency may be a difficult transition as some companies may not be trained to be as accepting of criticism or scrutiny as others. However, the truth is if you or your company is perceived as hiding something then it is automatically a negative mark in the eyes of the public. In many cases public imagination can inflate the perceived controversy to something far larger than the actual source. This means that saying nothing can do more damage than revealing the truth. Strive to be as transparent in your dealings with the public as possible.