How to Use Social Media to Avoid an Online Reputation Crisis

Most corporate cultures have a crisis management plan to fall back on in a reputational emergency. Online reputation management done right, especially with the use of social media, can prevent and mitigate problems before they become full-blown crises. Use social media to take control of your presence online and avoid a potential crisis with these 6 steps.

Plan and Prepare

Many brands are quick to jump on the newest social media bandwagon but slow to plan how they can best use it. Most crises can be prevented by planning important factors ahead of time, including:

  • what and how often to post on each social platform
  • which metrics are most important to the brand
  • how to measure and report on those metrics
  • how the brand will respond to both positive and negative comments
  • what the brand will do to show transparency, build trust, and boost engagement
  • how social media managers, employees, and others will react to, contain, and minimize the damage of a social media reputation crisis

Monitor Constantly

The best thing about social media is that everything happens in real time. That can also be a bad thing if you’re not constantly monitoring and moderating your social media accounts. Use tools like Sprout Social or Trackur to keep an eye on what others are saying about your brand, people, and products. Effective monitoring is the first step to protecting your reputation and helps you spot problems before they have time to snowball.

Moderate As Appropriate

Your social media profiles are an extension of your business website and company culture. That means they need to be moderated to reflect your brand in the best light possible while also providing transparency. This type of moderation means the removal of inappropriate content such as racism or pornography. Catching and removing this kind of unsuitable content as early as possible prevents high levels of “unlikes”, “unfollows”, lost customers, and lost reputational capital.

Prepare Against Threats

Hacked social media accounts can be devastating to your brand’s reputation. You must have strong threat detection and escalation processes in place to regain control of your social channels and prevent lasting damage to your reputation.

Watch Campaign Sentiment

Poorly timed or thought-out social media campaigns can inspire strong negative sentiment that spreads quickly online. Avoid negative sentiment in the first place with strong, research-based campaigns that appeal to your audience. Then if you see negative sentiment spreading, react to it quickly to appease your audience and save face.

Respond Quickly

The real-time nature of social media means your customers expect interaction and answers more quickly than ever before. Fast and proactive responses, especially to celebrities, thought leaders, and big names in your field, can help you both avoid a crisis and build a reputation for excellent customer service.

When used effectively, social media can be a powerful tool for not only building and maintaining your reputation, but also protecting and saving your online reputation in times of crisis. Follow these guidelines to make your social platforms work double-duty for your brand image.