Are you tracking what's being said about your organization online? While for-profit companies can actually calculate ROI for reputation management, nonprofit and public sector organizations have varied and less defined ways of calculating it. However, that doesn't make it any less important. In fact, nonprofits and the public sector rely even more on a positive brand image because funding can't be spent on massive marketing campaigns to re-brand and repair an image. Online reputation affects organizational credibility, funding and donations, customer and partner relationships, and employee and board member morale. Your strategic communications plan should contain an online reputation management strategy.
- Conduct an online evaluation to start. Do a simple Google Search on the organization's name. Dive into the first ten pages to see what is being said about the organization. Make sure to look at the “News” tab to view media mentions.
- Do the same search for social networks. Use search functions provided within social media tools like Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ to search for mentions of your organization's name. For further searching, tools such as Social Mention aggregate content from social tools and sites all over the web.
- Create a list of the negative comments. Put all of the comments and stories in one location. Evaluate the messages to understand if there are viable complaints. Look at any trends in the complaints to see if an overall theme is emerging.
- Develop key message points. Responses should be developed based on the themes that have emerged from the evaluation. Select someone who will manage your online reputation. Provide this person with log-in credentials to the accounts, brand guidelines and key messaging. This person should have the authority to move quickly. The lack of responsiveness to a negative comment can fuel the fire.
- Be proactive in getting positive press with the news media. Telling your story is one of the most powerful tools to combat negativity, along with building third party credibility through customer and partner testimonials, success stories and innovations.