Control Your Brand: Squelch Negative Press, Post Great Content!

Reputation Management

The dream of gathering 100,000’s customers was elusive or even unimaginable two years ago.  Now, with the plethora of social media available: Facebook, Twitter, and blogging, one can go from a complete unknown to, “voila-a celebrity”,  where people wait for your words of wisdom!  As great as the upsides of social media are, there are also the downsides. “What goes up must come down” syndrome.

Some people will be critical of you and your work and they will be posting these views online, whether you like it or not.   It’s important to understand how to manage your social media presence and tame the wild beast of social media.

Dave Carroll was unhappy with the way United Airlines baggage handlers treated his tools of the trade. His guitar was broken and, when United’s management failed to satisfy him, he decided to take his complaint to the court of public opinion and sought revenge.

Dave was inspired to use his talents (and time, and friends) to produce a 4-minute music video with a great hook, “United Breaks Guitars.” It’s good; I watched all of it.  The tune is catchy and you’ll never forget the one line..”United breaks Guitars.”

Here’s a clear case showing the power of social media to create a negative PR campaign and the importance of taking the time to address problems before they get out of hand. The slighted customer/guitarist’s embarrassing Youtube featuring a song and a video, received over four million hits in just ten days. This bad PR hurt United’s reputation and the timing couldn’t have been worse as their stock was already down by ten percent.

Had United addressed the situation and reimbursed Carrol immediately they could have avoided costly negative press. This story is a perfect example of how social media left untamed can hurt your business’s good-will; the antidote is  to address the problem as soon as it arises and come up with a counter strategy. Don’t sit by idly and wait for your reputation to develop online! Be aware that you have the power to control your personal brand (and your company’s brand) and you can mitigate the effect of negative comments about you and/or your company!

There are, unfortunately, wicked people (and some who are justified in their complaints) who are out there in cyberspace and will take pleasure in harming your reputation. Ignoring this reality is naïve and foolish for anyone trying to advance their brand. The savvy publisher or business owner can take control of their brand and develop strategies to optimize your online presence and manage your company’s reputation.  The secret is to get involved in conversation about the online projection of your business.

One of the most effective ways to drown out negative publicity (which can harm your brand if left unattended) is to publish loads of valuable content. Google searches work best for those who post lots of valuable content via blogs, podcasts, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. The more great stuff you post,the better, as the mere volume of your work will drown out any negative comments posted about you.

Consistently generate quality content via LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Podcasts, webinars, blogs and you’ll be more successful at creating a strong brand that will attract customers.  Also, the more quality content you post the better chance you’ll have at smothering out any negative statements about you. In short, optimize your good news to detract from any bad news. Or as I once heard, “dilution is the best way to deal with pollution!”

Build relationships using the 4 C’s

Content sharing

Content creation

Community building and connection

Create and build brand for the long run

This is my shortest post as I want to keep the point brief and concise.

1. Take charge of your reputation and get to work posting great content!

2. Don’t ignore negative comments about you.

3. Either address negative PR directly with an apology and create your own social media campaign to express accountability for the mishap or drown out the negative comments by posting so much great stuff that the negative comments get buried and are snuffed out by positive, useful content.