Following these 10 commandments goes a long way toward slaying the digital beast.
Managing your digital PR is a chore that has become increasingly more challenging. But there are some simple and effective ways to tame that digital beast.
These 10 commandments for managing your digital PR chop up overwhelming responsibilities and allow you to best allocate your attention and budget. It’ll also help you keep your brand name spanking clean.
#1. Address Unauthorized Accounts
Consumers are so helpful, typing a review and sending it out into the world wide web. In some cases, well-meaning employees are the culprit of creating unauthorized accounts to respond to them. Decide the most expeditious way to locate and delete these accounts because you are liable for every single representation of your company, which can affect reputation, PPC and Google ranking, for starters.
Email the company policy you craft to your employees so everyone understands the expectation and the repercussions if they choose to ignore it. Your bullets should cover employees spreading libelous content, disclosing confidential information, and those who use the business to advance their own agendas, e.g., a salesperson running a freelance start-up, with the intent to gain clients through employer transactions. Yes, it happens!
#2. Identify a Customer Service Process
You have likely written a plan for handling dissatisfied customers at your physical location, or those you encounter on the phone. Have you established the same for handling errors in the digital realm? Users streaming in from your website, your social and review accounts should be folded into your existing customer service process. Pinpoint your admins, make a schedule to determine who will be on-call to reply to comments during off hours, decide on a time frame of response and make sure everyone receives consistent training. A pre-written reply that can be used after hours is helpful.
#3. Review Pages Internally and Externally
Know which sites your business may appear in and manage these pages. For example, if you operate a chain of restaurants, you should regularly peruse local review sites and check out the comments from people who have eaten at your establishment.
This is a great way to engage with your clientele and demonstrate dedication to your business. Show readers you are conscientious with timely responses, and don’t attempt to remove poor reviews (which presents your business in a dishonest light). Instead, try stacking up new reviews through excellent service; the newer will then bury the older.
#4. Utilize Your Press
Whether you’re pushing out a promo, or doing damage control, all digital channels must be engaged and in-sync. Have you hit relevant social venues, reviews, press pages, video sites, etc.? Be ready to launch when an event is hopping, then stay online, in command, until the end.
#5. FTC Regulations
If you make a mistake in a social media post, on a review site, or in an ad, even with the best of intentions, the FTC can order Google to tank your rankings and levy a fine – i.e. you’re now past the fold on page six! A regulations guidebook should be created and dispersed to employees. If an indiscretion occurs, the existence of the guidebook and the effort to teach your team may bring more lenient consequences from the FTC.
#6. Social Channels
You don’t need to activate every social channel in existence, especially if you don’t have the time to take care of what you’ve created. Find the pertinent social channels, which will resonate with your brand, by learning about your consumer.
Understanding the market of each social site will save you time and money and ensure your message is heard by people who want to do business with you. Resist spreading a thin message over a larger reach in hopes of reaching a viable client. Prioritize which of your social sites will receive your attention in order of highest volume to least, but make sure you can adequately manage your profiles. If you are finding time is tight and you can’t respond to your users within a reasonable number of hours, you might consider deleting those social accounts which do not appeal to your clients. Neglected accounts do more harm than good.
#7. Plan for Failure and Success
Miscommunication, misinformation, it happens. In case of errors, check each piece of media affected and issue corrections ASAP. You should also devise a process to support increased virality and high-visibility events so when traffic spikes, you are not left madly brainstorming how to address each individual post, or comment at the last minute.
Each profile picture must have the same resolution; each logo must be a certain dimension. Any background, or cover photos must match and your citations need to be correct. Your style guide is your business bible. If you are opening new locations, profiles should be added at the earliest convenience. Branding is an area you cannot compromise, or your brand cohesion will suffer.
#9. Know What is Worth Outsourcing
Once profiles have been created, you will be responsible for managing your presence. For smaller businesses, in-house management is a reasonable consideration. If you don’t have a slew of locations on Yelp, Google Business Pages, Bing, or other industry listings, or offer a specialized product or service, in-house might be an ideal scenario for you. Larger companies may find it more efficient to outsource set-up and management. It makes sense to weigh these alternatives because digital PR is a vast and slippery universe capable of sucking up all your time if you let it.
#10. The Hit List
Scambook and Pissed Consumer are just two sites that can knock your business down since they encourage griping from disgruntled consumers. Prepare yourself. Search for and note similar sites, then Google your company name. You can also set up a Google alert to email you when your business has received a new comment.
Implementing these “10 commandments” will teach your teams to anticipate workflow and provide them with the stability of clearly-communicated expectations, which is half the battle. Your teams will then not only be able to complete their tasks, but should be able to extrapolate what’s coming next. Keep rolling with this plan, regardless of who fills the seats in your marketing department, and you’ll find when you remain consistent with your strategy, it is possible to conquer the digital beast.