In the unfortunate event that your personal name, business or brand is ever attacked online, it's important that you not only know how to respond to each situation, but also how to preplan for these events as well.
With the internet controlling nearly all aspects of our lives, how we find information and interact with others, it's more about "when" your name or brand will be attacked, then a question of "if".
In this article we are going to break down some of the most important ways for you to monitor and track brand mentions before an attack takes place, along with how you and your organization should respond if anything did happen.
The Importance of Knowing How to Prepare & Respond During a Brand Attack
As much as we all would like to think we are invulnerable to attacks or that we are running a squeaky clean business or service -- sometimes bad things just happen. It's what we do during these times that shows the true test of a persona, brand and the morals of a company.
Monitoring Personal and Brand Name Mentions Everywhere
A common occurrence on this blog is how often we recommend everyone starts monitoring their personal name and brand mentions online. This can be as easy as setting up Google Alerts to be notified on any new content ranking within Google's search results, or using other premium services like Mention and Trackur to monitor mentions across blogs, social networks, comments and forums.
Social Media Can Be Rewarding... but Also Scary at Times!
While many brands are now focusing on social media more than ever, along with the good comes the bad. With over 2 billion users spread across the major social networks, you are bound to get a few complaints or haters along the way -- some with accurate reason and others just because they have nothing better to do.
How you and your brand respond to these complaints can result in a complaint getting solved or even removed, versus turning into a viral marketing disaster.
To see how some of the most well known brands have responded to their own social media disasters, be sure to check out this post from Mashable.
Addressing Public Complaints Privately
With sites like Yelp, PissedConsumer and TripAdvisor becoming the goto source for reviews and information, how your brand addresses these situations is not only important, but now almost an everyday occurrence.
People are going to complain. They always have and they always will. With everyone now having access to the internet and given the ability to publicly complain about anything, without having to publicly share their face or name, it's now a bigger problem than ever.
Should this happen to your brand, it's very important that you don't take these complaints or negative reviews personally. When it does come time for you to respond to these complaints, it would be best to post a public response or comment that says "Thank you for your feedback. We are looking into the issue and will be in touch with you shortly.".
This is a general statement that shows you are taking action, but not putting enough information out there to cause blame, point the finger or cause more feedback that may result in further damage to your brand. You can then follow up with the person directly to address the situation.
Know Who is in Control of Your ORM
The last, yet possibly most important point that we want to stress, is that you need to know who is in control of your branding and reputation management.
The same individual who is responsible for your social media marketing and/or branding outreach, probably shouldn't be managing your reputation and crisis management as well.
Take the time to have a plan in place for when something like this may happen, who to contact and how you will address the situation. For this reason in itself, many businesses and brands have a reputation management team sitting at the helm just waiting for a call.
Your personal name and brand is extremely important. It can take years to build up and just seconds to take down. Don't let anonymous online complaints, negative reviews and defamatory attacks ruin what you've taken so long to build.
Preplan. Respond. Repair.