Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Dealing with Negative Buzz - Thought of the Day

You'll never be able to control the blogosphere conversation. Don't even try. You'll never be able to manage your blog coverage like you manage the press. Don't even try. But what you can do is participate, earn respect, and tell your story. Jump in, join the conversation, and be a part of it.

Andy Sernovitz, Former CEO of WOMMA, the Word of Mouth Marketing Association

Two separate clients have approached me in the past weeks to discuss how to manage negative online buzz. Both groups were concerned, frustrated and confused about how to respond.

The conversations went something like this:
  • Denial – Can I ignore this? No, the negative buzz is showing up on the first page of Google
  • Anger – Well let’s just flame these guys! (emotional response)
  • Acceptance – Let’s create a plan to appease the negative poster and mitigate the damage

Dealing with negative word of mouth (social media) conversation is going to become a more regular, if not daily, occurrence. Managing negative buzz will become a key component of Crisis Management PR.

We need to be proactive in counseling and managing our clients’ online reputations. Below is an outline of the process that we should consider:

  • Monitor online footprint
  • Build online reputation, now, before you need it (i.e. become part of the conversation)
  • Respond quickly, authoritatively, and factually...Bottom line: tell the truth

The water cooler conversation has moved from the office into cyberspace. It is our job to ensure that our clients are counseled about this colossal shift and are in a position to respond when someone invariably tries to tarnish their reputation.

Make it a great Wednesday, and Holiday weekend!


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