The media certainly is a powerful medium. News whether true or false will immediately affect the perceptions of a lot of people. Social media in particular serves as an outlet for people to vent their frustrations and concerns.
When those same frustrations and concerns are about you then you’re in trouble.
It would be fair to say that social media played an integral role in recently conducted presidential elections. APC of course being the biggest beneficiary of the support on social media, PDP on the other hand, not so much.
A significant chunk of the anger displayed by Nigerians circled around the many failures of the past government. What is left to be seen is if President Buhari and the APC will sustain their social media drive to give Nigerians a voice in this government.
The PDP has since then been playing catch up and social media has played a part in their undoing. It would have served them well had they sustained the momentum they gathered from the 2011 elections
Take, for instance their engagement on social media. The official twitter account of the then President Goodluck Jonathan (GEJ) created in March of 2011. His last official tweet came three months after and he only managed to tweet 32 times. Dwell on that for a while.
President Muhammadu Buhari (GMB) on the other hand who joined Twitter only as recent as last December has over 1000 tweets, over 400,000 followers and even had has account verified by Twitter. You could have imagined what 4 years of engagement with Nigerians could have done for Former President Goodluck Jonathan and the PDP.
It would have refined their image and would have also given a chance to clear many bad perceptions Nigerians had about them. So while PDP may be out of office, it should not be all doom and gloom for them. Now is the time for them to rebuild their image and that process begins with online reputation management.
Online reputation management moves beyond just social media monitoring but is so much more. The internet has evolved now in the sense that not having an online presence or having a bad presence is detrimental to your business and brand.
Want proof? Look no further than Walter Palmer, the man who shot and killed Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe. A well respected dentist who had to shut down his business because the strong backlash from social media. It is quite difficult to imagine his life being the same again.
Engagement on social media is imperative for your business to be successful. Politics is even more entwined in social media and people are always going to be talking about you.
This is where online reputation management becomes necessary. As a business or brand trying to gain the trust of other people, that trust can be gained by being transparent. Being transparent means communicating with your followers on a personal level – preferably one on one. Asking for feedback as well as addressing criticism directed towards you.
Being transparent carries its risks after all but not being transparent is even worse. In this regard businesses and political parties can use this to their advantage and get one over you. Online reputation management covers much more than that. Like I said earlier, people are always going to be talking about you.
How do you respond to negative press?
When do you respond?
How do you control the information about you on the internet?
Sometimes an untimely response can cost you big. This can be handled by monitoring all your social media outlets and carefully reviewing content to determine whether the press has been good or bad. Sometimes bad word of mouth can transcend social media and come in the form of a hate website.
These hate websites are very bad and can do real damage to your reputation because they more likely to appear in search engine results. While individuals have the freedom and right to speech, there are limitations.
Content is almost always defamatory and information used against you can be inaccurate. Worst of all, the website is dedicated to seeing your business, brand or political party fail.
This is when the search engine optimization (SEO) aspect could be bad for you. If an individual were to google you, your business or party will come up – but also websites that talk a lot about you. If those websites happen to be bad reviews or hate sites, then you’re in trouble.
High profile websites like Forbes, BBC and CNN all conducted investigative reviews about Cecil’s killing and as you have probably guessed, their expos’s will rank high in the upper echelons of search engines for the foreseeable future.
With online reputation management, an aggressive search engine optimization (SEO) campaign can be implemented to ensure that websites with good positive content either owned by you or others, rank higher in search engine results. This will benefit your reputation in the long run significantly.
On the other hand, hate sites that claim false information about your business or party and serves no other purpose than to cause harm and see you fail will face litigation to get the content removed.
On the internet at least, online reputation management is essential for your business or party. Since there is no central authority on the net, you are exposed to criticisms from every direction.
To rebuild your image again, you need to be transparent, monitor what people say about you, and react to criticisms in the right way, pay close attention to search results.
Sometimes all you need to do is ask for a little help and reach out to an online reputation management company that is worth their salt.
Feature Image: Vanguard