Your online reputation is built over years, but can be undone—or impacted, at least—in a moment. Social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and a slew of others help spread the word about your business and brand but if not part of a thoughtful, professional strategy, can do more harm than good.
Take KitchenAide’s Twitter mistake during the presidential debate.
A thoughtless tweet poking fun at President Barack Obama’s late grandmother was posted on KitchenAid’s officia lU.S. account, and immediately was noted by many Twitter users during the presidential debate:
“Obamas gma even knew it was going 2 b bad! ‘She died 3 days b4 he became president’. #nbcpolitics,”@KitchenAidUSA. Obama mentioned his grandmother, Madelyn Lee Payne Dunham, during the debate who died Nov. 2, 2008, just before Obama was elected.
Although the tweet was deleted quickly, the damage was done. KitchenAide spent the next day attempting to repair their reputation by issuing an apology and press releases.
Companies are starting to realize that it’s crucial to have a professional team in place when engaging with customers or their reputation can be effected or destroyed.
Here are five ways to prevent your online reputation from being damaged by social media:
Create an Overall Communications Strategy.
Don’t just start tweeting or posting comments online. Rather, design a concept, outline and process to communicate to your online followers. What is your brand online? Who do you want to reach? How will you engage them?
Hire a Professional Team.
While its temping, don’t let an intern or recent inexperienced college graduate be the face of your company online. Instead, use a professional or get trained to do it yourself. Experience matters.
Write or document what should or should not be published, and clearly define what the goals are. Steer clear of controversial subjects—unless you want a torrent of attention of the wrong kind.
Have in place a process to review content that is published. This might seem daunting or nearly impossible, but at least know what is being said immediately after a tweet has been published. In the very least, set up a Google Alert for your brand to keep on top of what is being said or deployed about you.
Have a Backup Plan.
Have in place a way to immediately delete or rollback content, and have someone assigned to this task at all times. Know that things can happen very quickly, so have emergency contact numbers available to key decision makers and know about online reputation management tools or firms—just in case.