Engagement StrategySocial Media IntelligenceSocial Media Management

Online Reputation Management: Stay away from pitfalls

So you are in the public eye, either part of a political party or a well respected organization and you are also on Social Media, that large community of people where everything is seen with a critical eye.

It is very important to manage your public profile with a well-balanced manner so as to share all the right information with the audience you wish to reach.

Even if you find the comments or status of a person that represents your organization/party not fit to your personal view, you should always remain balanced when referring to any issue.

Your attitude should state your distance but it is not advisable to enter into a dialogue process, which can eventually lead to internal conflict.

If you strongly disagree with anything posted or someone’s comment, this should not be evident publicly.

Debates that stem from internal dissimilarities in opinions and view should remain internal of the party/organization.

In the case of public announcements such as corporate news of press releases of the party​/organization on Social Media there should be one central referral point.

If there is an official Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or other Social Media page, which belongs to the category of owned media, any announcement from the corporate website should be posted there.

​More specifically when it comes to more specific actions on Social Media:

​1. Formulation and tone ​ of voice of​ ​personal profile posts

While drafting your posts​ pay special attention to ​maintain a positive tone of voice, when it is​ feasible and avoid references to the first person. ​It seems less self-centered.

​It is also important to pay tribute to other individuals or community groups for any action or contribution to a cause.​

Some basic guidelines when it comes to your own posts in terms of tonality are:

  1. uncertainties (for example: some claim, one said, others, etc.)
  2. phrases representing elitist lifestyle (e.g. living in the suburbs)
  3. generalizations and populism
  4. insulting characterizations of all kinds

 2. Interaction​s with other like-minded people

Even if you disagree with the opinion of a member of ​your organization/party, it is not the most appropriate attitude to a stance against ​an issue ​openly and ​for no reason do not enter into ​a social media dispute, ​as it can eventually lead to internal conflict.

If you disagree with anything posted or someone’s​comment, use internal means of communication processes or direct contact methods.

 3. Posts in Facebook groups /pages, Twitter accounts or other owned media

Select the central point of your organization’s communication strategy either your website of a social media account e.g. Facebook page and share a news piece or a press release with your personal view from that place. From there everyone involved in the community has the opportunity to share the news or in their personal profiles or in other groups. If possible the dissemination of news should be​performed at different times during the day so as to reach all the corresponding people online at some point.

Most importantly, if the key communication point is an owned medium, keep a central post so that all likes, shares and comments of the community are gathered there and the performance of the post is easier to monitor. ​

Avoid continuous reproduction of a single news item to avoid irritating the audience and make them lose their focus.

The point is to keep them interested and engaged to what you have to say. ​Make your content shareable material.

 4. Answers to public comments

Any comment made posted on your organization owned media accounts e.g. blog, Facebook page etc. that refers to you directly or indirectly should be handled in an appropriate manner based on the following different cases you might come across.

Case A. Reply to a user’s positive reaction

In case there is a constructive and enthusiastic comment from a user for your organization’s public announcement or post, the right thing to do is to thank the individual personally (by making a reference to his/her name).

Case B. Respond to negative responses

If an individual expresses his dissatisfaction publically without being contentious or insulting, a safe approach is to provide a general and condescending answer, which shows that you take into account the person’s opinion even if you have no solution to provide.

Indicative answers:

  1. We understand your concern and we will investigate the matter
  2. Please send me more information on your topic in a private message
  3. The necessary measures about your problem have been taken

 Case C. Deal with an abusive comment

​​If an offensive comment arises, it is best to avoid answering directly to the one who made the comment in case you don’t wish to heat up the situation.

If the abusive comment is substantial and is based on a real incident, you should consult with all people in your party/organization for the overall corrective actions to be taken.

If the abusive comment takes larger dimensions or the condition is inflated with the involvement of more people, then there should be a central official announcement from the Communication Team of a party/organization either with the form of a press release and its reproduction on Social Media (or a press conference).

All the above guidelines can help you survive on the Social Web while still maintaining a sustained public image.

Imelda Marco’s quote ‘No talk, no trouble’ reflects the essence of communication, but how can you remain silent when you go digital and interactions and information fly?

Melina Politi

Social Media Manager at Tribal Worldwide Athens