When you are thinking of starting your own blogging business, you need to take all possible consequences seriously.
This includes social media and reputation safety.
Here are five social media safety tips to keep in mind:
1. Your Website Beats All Others
When a JetBlue employee went a little crazy one day opening an emergency exit, pulling the inflatable chute and jumping out of the plane on August 9 in New York, the Internet moved into high gear. In quick succession JetBlue moved from a typical Tuesday to a massive PR emergency.
At first JetBlue didn’t say anything. Their Facebook and Twitter pages blew up. Some social comments were coming from people who were on Flight 1052. Within moments of the event people were tweeting and adding negative comments to JetBlue’s Facebook page (view the Wikipedia timeline to see how fast CNN caught on).
JetBlue’s delay probably means JetBlue learned in real time about something every company needs in these social media times – a defined social media procedure, shared across the company that is practiced and drilled.
JetBlue came back stronger in the second innings by:
- Creating a special blog post titled “Sometimes the Weird News is About Us…” asking for time before sharing details but with a link to CNN (so not denying what happened).
- Requesting people on OPP (Other People’s Platforms such as Twitter and Facebook) move over to their blog to learn details and share reactions
- JetBlue has received 243 comments on their “Weird News” post, many full of support and love for the airline
- Many customers weighed in on JetBlue’s side against nasty Facebook comments urging restraint and reason (great to have customers protect your brand).
Websites exist simultaneously in several dimensions. Websites are defined by what THEY create and how OTHERS respond to those creations.
The larger your site (larger here referring to people your site touches) the more it lives OUT THERE and the less control you have over your brand’s web presence. Control, in an Internet enabled, flat, global and fast world, is always more illusion than reality.
We don’t attempt to control the weather. There are too many variables and we know better. Our best hope with weather and Internet storms is predictive analytics, luck and our values and belief systems as expressed through our business processes. Read Dov Seidman’s great How: Why How We Do Anything Means Everything for more on why your business processes are of critical importance in an Internet-enabled age.
2. Have a Policy
To avoid a JetBlue PR problem, draft a policy about where you want to have difficult conversations and who is in charge.
I suggest following JetBlue’s lead and moving tough conversations to your blog. Be sure to repurpose positive comments from customers across social channels with a Thank You. If a customer or customers ask people to calm down and give your company the benefit of the doubt it is much better than you asking for the same thing.
Make sure any such statement is played across your social channels. Curate your social content. If something great is shared on Facebook, promote it on Twitter, your site, blog and other platforms and vice versa.
“What if someone says a horrible thing on Yelp or some other platform?”
This is another common question. When a reviewer takes you to task on OPP (Other People’s Platforms) here is what you do:
- Be appreciative of the feedback even if you disagree with the content.
- Link to where you have a more detailed “discussion” set up on one of your owned properties such as your site or blog. Remember, you don’t “own” Facebook, Twitter and other social networks. THEY do.
- Set up a “discussion” area on your blog or website, copy the negative review (or the parts that meet your posted guidelines) and post your appreciation for the information. Appreciation for feedback is NOT agreement.
- Don’t be defensive. If you have previously published material such as policies and procedures that contradict the reviewer, RESIST using it. Respond directly to THIS incident on a human level.
- Remember the 1:10:89 rule. 1% of visitors contribute, 10% will vote on the contribution of the 1% and 89% ride for free. This is why appreciation for the 1% is so important.
- 10x Rule – The 10x rule says that for every person willing to raise their hand there are at least 10 others who feel the same. This is why a full and complete public airing of a negative review on a website you own is so important.
3. Ensure Your (And Your Employees’) Personal Privacy
There have been thousands of scandals recently involving personal data leaks which reflected badly on companies they represent.
Keeping your digital identity secure is the first step to ensuring your brand’s safety.
Tools like Aura offer a good way to guard your online identity, especially if you have a team you are managing. But even for one-man business owners, it is a good idea because your whole company’s well-being depends on how secure your data is.
Start with appreciation, summarize your research, identify dropped balls and admit them as such, change faulty procedures you discovered and credit the reviewer and let your customers know what areas you found that were divergent to the review.