The hit television show Breaking Bad is in the midst of its final season, which has been divided into two parts. Consumers were given an option on Apple’s iTunes platform to purchase what was called a “Season Pass” that would allow access to the full season. The trouble was that when the second part of the season dropped, consumers found themselves paying twice to watch it. The final episodes are commonly called the final season, but Apple argues the two split seasons allow them to charge separately. That distinction might land Apple in some hot water moving forward.
With a situation that large, it’s difficult to keep a lid on the social media outcry, but how your company deals with consumer complaints can make the difference in how much you pay out in damages.
Reputation management often looks comprehensively at your business presence online. It analyzes the past, present and looks at a possible future for your company’s reputation moving forward. For that, you’ll need to look at social media and the search engine to determine what the public sees when they look for you.
Perform a search for yourself in Twitter or on Google. If you see less than favorable results, it’s time for a PR adjustment. The best DIY method for analyzing this data is to set a Google Alert that delivers articles about you to your inbox. Articles can include reviews or social media blurbs too. This blanket approach allows you to capture negative data as it happens and keep on eye on storms brewing before they get out of control.
Dealing with negative reviews is difficult. You may not have the ability to get a simple cease and desist, or a DMCA take down notice, to effectively remove the content. It never hurts to ask, but if your request is denied you to take more aggressive measures in the search engine. This is where it helps to have more domain real estate related to yourself and your business. Buy up all the potential “scam” or “negative” websites that might crop up with your name on them.
Grab your account on as many social media outlets as you can and control messaging before it becomes a problem. Take advantage of authenticity badges like the ones offered on Twitter, and verify yourself wherever possible.
Choosing what you say, and when you say it, is just as crucial as monitoring the firestorm. Your response to the issue can either provide a well-thought solution or throw gasoline on the fire. Before you respond to anything, make sure of a few things first:
· Who are you addressing? If you’re working with one person, or a small group, address them privately. Let them handle updating the public (which they will often do via social media or blogging)
· What is the issue? Nothing hurts worse than addressing the wrong issue.
· Mea Culpa: what’s your plan to make things right? If you are just apologizing, go back to the drawing board.
A lot of people divert to PR companies, but lawyers like Glenn Peterson might be more effective. You want to avoid legal trouble wherever possible, but a lawyer may be able to use copyright law to enforce removal. Lawyers are especially helpful in situations where there is a dispute in your terms of service. They can help you draft new language and defend the rights of your business.
Owning Your Presence
Being proactive in the search engine is the best way to stop social media heat. Guest post and establish yourself as an expert around the Web. Build trust, and leverage your accomplishments on public outlets. The more knowledge you provide to the search engine, the better you monitor your reputation, and the more attention you pay to how your data is categorized, the higher the payoff for your reputation.