In the last blog post about reputation management
, we talked about you putting your best foot forward by ensuring that you were properly contributing within your social media presence. Managing your words and actions in a manner that let people know where you stand, who and what you represent, what your agency represents and always staying in line with your goals, vision, objectives, etc.
So, the next part of managing your reputation is knowing what people are saying about you, your peers, and/or your agency.
We’ve all been in social situations where someone finds out you’re a police officer and almost immediately comes the, “I have a friend that got this ticket. He wasn’t even doing anything wrong…” or the friend who got arrested for no reason, “The police just took him in and…”
Here is your opportunity to perform reputation management.
How you react to this varies but some of the considerations you will think about in your next move will depend on the details, the setting, how the story is told, who is telling the story, how many people are listening, the influence of the person… on and on.
Face to face you pretty much have to respond in some manner. It may be asking for clarification, providing education, showing sympathy, or smiling and saying, “Have a nice day.”
How you respond, what you say, your non-verbal communication, your verbal communication, all play a part of your reputation management… it all starts with you. Using that social situation, it maybe best to use one of the 5 Rs:
1.) Repair – a minor problem fixed with education or a kind word.
2.) Rescue – something is very wrong and you will do a little damage control.
3.) Reiterate – a good deed, act, or gesture and you will support it.
4.) Rectify – can you fix the problem, then do it.
5.) Retreat – oh boy!! Where is the closest exit?
Depending on how the situation started with the original officer your response or lack thereof sets the reputation management on its course.
In social media, you will encounter the same situations. Depending on how engaged you are with your online community may determine how much of this you are doing. But no matter what, if you don’t hear what the community is saying, how can you help?
You need to hear and there are many ways to do this depending on how you and your agency want to handle your presence.
There are professional tools available that allow monitoring to be done by third parties that are quite remarkable in terms of the depth and scope of the information that will be monitored. Tone and temperature of the conversations taking place using specific keywords can be measured along with where your message is going and who is receiving it, right down to what the public does with your message. These tools also measure what the public’s message is to you.
On a smaller scale, you can do some of this yourself using various tools such as HootSuite
, Google Analytics
, Facebook Insights
, YouTube Insight
, RSS feeds
to e-mail alerts, Google Alerts
. These are all tools that are free* and using key words, comment notification, viewing them your self can all give you a pretty good idea of what is going on with your presence.
(* Some of these tools require a premium account depending on what you are doing and what you are trying to measure, which may cost money.)
I use all of the above to see what is being said, the questions being asked, the comments being made, and the views being done. My first priority of listening is done through this and once you get accustomed to watching/listening, it can be done fairly quickly after you have established it.
But the key is you have to do it whether you contract it out, or do it yourself. I like to put it this way.
Say someone says something that is completely wrong or way out of context about something you or your agency has done on Facebook. The story gets shared with a few hundred people. Then it migrates over to Twitter and shared with a few hundred more people. Broken telephone has happened along the way and someone links a video to it, which is even more out of context and suddenly, your agency is enjoying a battering from the community.
The lasting impression is whatever the tone and temperature of the comments have become and if you aren’t in a position to hear it, you aren’t in a position to do anything about it.
By listening, “hear what I hear,” you could be injecting yourself in the conversation. Pointing out the reality, clearing up misconceptions or letting people know where the story may have went off the tracks.
Sure that’s a worst-case scenario. What about a member of the public who wants to say, “Thank you” to your agency for a great job one of your officers did? It would be great to say, “You’re welcome”, wouldn’t it? But if you aren’t listening…you can’t hear it.
So, what do you do next? It started with you; you are now hearing, but what about when it all goes wrong? You’ll have to wait for part III of my Reputation Management series.