Corporate reputation management online
Judith deCabbit is running the mid-afternoon session on this topic and begins with a quick background and reasons for monitoring online content. She notes that managing expectations online is crucial to dealing with corporates. With an increasingly fragmented series of channels online for tags to describe the organisation. So many tales of ‘fake blogs’ and fake bloggers designed to promote an idea or brand, and they *never* reflect well on the product. And under new model European Law, from May 20 in the UK, it is regarded as in breach of the European directive to promote a brand without disclosing the relationship the author has with the product.
Negative publicity is all the more difficult to unseat from top-rated Google search responses, the larger the company. Judith notes that negative news and negative PR is potentially a death sentence for small business, but equally it is possible to maximise the positive messages through as many channels as possible.
It’s obvious to monitor the brand, but it’s also important to watch the employees of an organisation – both for positive and negative reasons. I’m a bit nervous about this as it sounds like censoring your staff, but in the end there needs to be a common-sense approach to this kind of tracking. Productive criticism is useful. Defamation is another thing entirely. But on the positive side, I totally agree that positively reinforcing employees can have a strong positive impact on the organisation. It still annoys me on Flickr that if you search for ‘Joanne Jacobs’ the first image that comes up is of me downing a glass of wine. It’s not such a bad shot, it’s just that it does nothing for my public image. I probably should fix that by tagging a whole stack of other images I have taken with my own name. Note to self: do that.
Judith goes on to articulate the range of tools she uses for monitoring – everything from Google searches and Alerts, Yahoo alerts, etc. She also notes that press releases via email are not necessarily a good idea. News worthy items are more valuable than trying to pack out a newsletter with rubbish. She also notes that you shouldn’t spam journalists with the same content through multiple channels – it only irritates. Lots of free distribution systems like newswire that can assist – but you should only use one. Possibly also better to pay and to target mainstream outlets.
Corporate blogging is useful where there is a need to engage with an audience and where there is strong competiton from a leading player. But key to this is responding to suggestions and complaints. Personal voice is important for making of connections to individuals running businesses. Engagement is key.