How many websites, profiles, videos, blogs, and social media accounts have you set up to create an effective and trustworthy brand for your online followers and potential customers?
All of this hard work can be wiped away in a matter of hours with the speed that information is being shared online. Any person that complains loud enough online will get someone else to agree with them; and that person will get someone to listen to them, and so it continues.
How long did it take you to build your companies online brand?
Most companies have focused on creating thorough and effective contingency plans for this kind of situation. With everyone online and the ability to say anything they want about whoever they want, this type of problem is almost inevitable. While a contingency plan is necessary, it has caused most companies to lose focus on what is really important.
In this case, defense is the best offense. By utilizing an effective prevention plan, 9 out of 10 of these situations can be avoided.
Here are 2 tips to ensure that ensure a comprehensive prevention strategy by creating an environment where people inherently trust your brand and not the random person lashing out against your company.
1. Own Your Property
Make sure that you take control of all online property that can relate directly to your business. This includes user names for social media and pertinent forums such as Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, WordPress and Blogger domains, and related self-hosted domains such as misspellings and additional domain extensions such as .net and .org.
When you own all of the related property, other people cannot take control of it and use it in ways that would make your company less credible. The most famous historic example of this is whitehouse.gov and its pornographic counterpart whitehouse.com. Even if you ever intend to use these resources, it is an excellent defensive move to ensure that no one else can use them either.
2. Create a Community
It is critical that you are tied to other businesses and influential bloggers online. By having your ad on their website, allowing them to post articles on your website or by posting articles on their websites, or simple by having a link from your website to theirs and one from theirs to yours. You can also have multiple people or websites connect to your social profiles such as LinkedIn or Facebook.
By creating a support community around your business, they will inherently step up and protect your reputation because their image is tied to yours and may be in a position to squash any negative comments before they become viral. However, you will need to align yourself with companies that you stand behind because you may be put in a situation where your company will need to protect them.
These are two simple, yet effective, ways to play defense and protect your companies brand and image.
What preventative efforts have you made to protect your brand and online image?