As an executive, you need to monitor what people are saying about you online. It helps to build business.
In the "good news" bucket, there's relationship development. You'll find opportunities to share other people's content, to thank them for sharing yours ("Thanks for the retweet"), and to develop business relationships. What starts online can easily lead to phone calls and in-person meetings.
In the "bad news" bucket, there‘s reputation management. You need to deal with negative content and bad news.
If you monitor what's being said about you, then your personal brand will be diluted and you'll have to start dealing with your damaged online reputation. Actually, that's how most people start out monitoring their online brand – when they discover there‘s bad news to be dealt with.
Where to Start
There are many tools, free and paid, that you can use to track your keywords on a daily basis and take action. On the free side, start with Social Mention and Google Alerts. Then, go into the corresponding social network and respond.
Viral Heat is a fee-based application that lets you set up all of your online channels and keywords, monitor daily mentions and reply in real time – what you type into Viral Heat appears in your Twitter feed, on your Facebook page, etc. It's a convenience that saves a lot of time.
If you're a marketing director, CMO, or other person responsible for branding, public relations and/or online marketing, you also should be aware of what people are saying about your company and your key executives – and your competitors – and taking appropriate action to optimize opportunities and protect reputations.
In larger organizations, it's crucial to make sure that:
- All people who are touching the company brand on social are communicating on a daily basis.
- You monitor what competitors are doing.
- Everything is cohesive, with agreed-to targets (keywords, competitors, and response times to comments, product inquiries and service issues) and written guidelines shared among marketing, sales, customer service and the C-suite, etc.
- Everything is being analyzed and reported.
- Everything is acted upon.
Monitoring also helps you get a bead on what people are or aren't interested in. This is invaluable information in relationship building and sales.
Poster Boy: NYC Mayoral Candidate Anthony Weiner
Talk about reputation management: New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner resigned from Congress in 2011, following a sexting scandal involving women he met online and inappropriate photos. He subsequently claimed that he had obtained therapy for his behavior and counseling for his marriage.
Last week, news broke that, even after he resigned from Congress, he continued sexting. That‘s adding insult to injury by he who would be mayor.
He's revved up his conventional PR machine. But in addition to his in-person media interviews, Weiner should head to the Internet to manage his brand online. He needs to make friends with the people who are against him, as well as the people who support him
The first step is to be proactive and find the groups that are active in Facebook and the people who are most vocal on Twitter. Whether they love him, hate him, or are in-between, Weiner needs engage online and build relationships with those people by responding, by being authentic, by managing conflict.
And he needs to engage online with the media: to get in front of the story as best be can.
Some tactics Weiner should use:
- Connect with all groups in local politics. Get engaged with the local political groups. Respond to them online. Connect with the managers of those groups online.
- Build up a following on LinkedIn.
- Develop relationships with journalists on LinkedIn.
- Engage daily on his own website and Facebook page.
- Have fun with it. It doesn't all have to be so serious, even though his admissions are. Weiner should offer to send a picture – in a three-piece suit and tie – to anyone who wants one.