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Brand Protection: Building a Team to Manage Your Online Reputation

Part of the Online Reputation Management For Dummies Cheat Sheet

The smartest thing you can do to establish and protect your online reputation is to craft a strategy that's going to work for you and your organization. Many times a single person can ran a day-to-day engagement to implement that strategy, but you may discover that you need to create a team of people devoted to the task. Either approach can work well, but be sure to consider the following:

  • One person can work miracles for a small, relatively quiet organization by using a kitchen timer. Kitchen egg timers can be a lifesaver for time management when you're researching hypnotic social networks like *cough* Facebook. Set your timer for 15 minutes and then move on to new tasks. Do this a few times a day so you stay on course.

  • Recruit people who are naturally friendly. Introverts can be outstanding at setting up monitoring tools, interpreting analytics, and doing just about anything besides engaging with others, even online. However, interaction energizes extroverts. These folks will need that egg timer to remind them that it's time to get offline again!

  • Closely consider who you will hire. Being outgoing is just a start. Make sure that your prospective team members are diplomatic, cool under pressure, and emotionally mature.

  • Maintain a rotating schedule for online engagement. Weekends are a great time to take time off and forget about work for a while — unless you're responsible for monitoring a brand online. The majority of online crises start over the weekend. Like wildfires, they spark unobserved and quickly blossom into a full conflagrations. Create an equitable rotation where people check in a few times throughout weekends and evenings and stick with it.

  • Ongoing training and objective feedback keep your team in top shape. During an escalating online crisis, maintaining your team's enthusiastic support even while you hold them to high standards works like having lots of money in the bank.

  • Create a senior level crisis team. This team needs to have people from Human Resources, Marketing, Legal, PR, and at least one executive level representative. Together, they need to brainstorm for worst case scenarios and concoct effective remedies for both the problem and the way that they would transparently deal with it via social media and the blogosphere.

  • Planning ahead. Investigate back up team members that can effectively pitch in during an escalating crisis. This might include hiring an outside firm.

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