At the May session of TECOM’s Thought Incubator series, Husam Jandal, senior digital marketing consultant at WSI addressed the subject of online reputation management (ORM), and how to balance the benefits and risks of marketing on the Internet.
Faced with the increasing use of social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, ORM is an essential concept for both individuals and organisations, according to Jandal. “The Internet has drastically changed the way people interact. It also influences the way news travels, people have gone from just reading news to actually sharing their opinions and this offers a two way channel of communication that can stand for or against an organisation The Web has witnessed greater involvement from individuals as a means to share experiences and feedback,” said Jandal.
The concept of ORM follows the old adage, “If you do something good people may tell one person but if something goes wrong people will tell 10 more people about it.” According to Jandal, the best way to tackle an online reputation crisis is to understand that while content on the Internet cannot be controlled it can be influenced to favour the organisation.
Jandal feels that the only way for effective ORM is to monitor, analyse and then influence the content on the Internet. Jandal said, “Every individual should invest in social media or Internet monitoring tools like Google Alerts, Social Mention, Radian 6 among many others. These are automated tools that monitor the Web for mentions of your name or your organisation’s name and keep you updated on what’s being said in the digital universe. If you’re listening to what’s being said and you are aware of the intricacies of the situation, you can always steer a negative comment in your favour.”
Most importantly, organisations should implement a social media policy,which they must make sure is signed by each one of their employees to define and restrict what they say about the organisation or themselves on the Internet, according to Jandal.
Jandal recommends that organisations invest in external expertise to maximise efforts to manage an organisation’s online reputation, this often falls in line with an extensive online brand reputation exercise.
The TECOM thought incubator series takes place every month at the Dubai Media City to discuss industry wide topics like social marketing, public relations management, among many others.
WSI has been developing Digital Marketing Solutions for small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) since the mid 1990s.
WSI highlights 10 steps to manage your online reputation
1. Monitor the Internet or invest in monitoring tools
2. Establish a streamlined online reputation crisis management process
3. Don’t waste any time and respond to a negative/ positive remark immediately
4. Make sure you are consistent with your responses and facts
5. Educate your employees about the scenario and the way forward
6. Be absolutely transparent about a negative scenario or remark. Do not lie
7. Be patient and listen to your audience’s response to your response
8. Always be prepared for a 2 way dialogue with your audience and keep your cool
9. Follow up with your audience
10. Play it smart and reach out to your brand representatives, this shows sincerity and generates Goodwill