Friday, June 26, 2009

Tips for Online Survival

The Internet has created citizens journalists who are free to voice anything they want at any time and at any place around the world.

This has caused some companies to face public image crisis because they have not responded correctly to what are said in E-mails, Blogs, Social Media e.g Facebook and Twitter. One of them is the Omni International Hospital in Tangerang, whose image is now very bad after it sued and caused ex patient Prita to be jailed for 3 weeks, just because she sent e-mails to her friends about the hospital’s bad services.

In this regards, I have read an article by Penny C. Sansevieri in Bernstein Crisis Management newsletter, which offers tips about how to survive an online attack, as follows:

1. We must realize that we have no control over what happens: Accept the fact that things which attract Twitters or Blogs will get out of control very quickly. Deal with it - start with where the noise is; for example if the crisis is limited to Twitter, then our strategy should focus on the Twitterers involved. If we respond to them directly, we’re on the way to solving the problem. The longer we worry about the flurry, the longer it'll take us to find a strategy.
2. Make sure about Accuracy: with everyone being a reporter, remember that sources and the like don't matter - at least not initially - in the Twitterverse.
3. Monitor the Internet: always know what's going on out there. It could be something as simple as one blogger posting information on you that isn't 100% accurate, they like accuracy as much as we do so in a friendly way, set the record straight. Set them to our name, our business, book - whatever brand or brands we have that should be monitored.
4. Be quick to fix this: don't wait and watch as our message go out of control, jump on this quickly and correct it before it turns into a wildfire of tweets and blog comments. Our silence will be filled by others all too eager to step in and offer their own answers, even if their information is incorrect.
5. Be sincere: we all screw up, be sincere and genuine. We don't want a bunch of people we don't know out there being our spokesperson. If we don’t speak up, someone else will do it for us (and review #4).
6. Words are key, so is honesty: if someone is attacking us and we are really at the center of this mess, remember that now is not the time to try and come up with some politically correct answer. Be clear in our message and do whatever we have to do to fix this.
7. Relationships: Building relationships within our area of expertise will help us manage our reputation if there is an attack. Get to know the people who specialize in our industry and let them know who we are by networking with them and being helpful. When it comes to reputation management, it's much easier to go back to the friends we already have than try and build these relationships when there's trouble.

Considering the above, it is important for us to keep track of who is writing about us, reviewing our product/book, and featuring our articles, By doing so, we will have a chance to network and we will have opportunity to return to an existing relationship and fix a problem in times of trouble.


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