The company news and public relations landscape has been altered dramatically with the popularity of the internet.  These days anyone — right or wrong — can post information online through their website, blogs and social media.  Once it is out there – the word is quickly spread, shared and circulated.  That’s great if it is good news.  But if it is not – the bad news is out there for all to see regardless of whether the claim has merit or not. 

With this in mind it is important that companies be out in front of their on line reputation and monitor what the public and the press are saying about your business, service or product.

If something negative is happening.  Don’t ignore it.  It won’t magically disappear.
There are several ways you can help restore your reputation and achieve more positive results and minimize the negative ones.

First – be nice.  Be direct and communicate exactly what’s happening and the steps you’ve taken to mitigate the issue and solve the problem.  If you have no news – say that as well.  The public appreciates honesty.

Consider posting your own information in the form of articles, press releases and videos.  This can help you spread your own story and offer positive information about the company and what it is doing right. Posting on line videos with your own message – can be particularly useful as search engines are attracted to them. By taking action to foster positive sentiment, you can quickly change public perceptions and soften the impact of bad news.

Be open to suggestions and opinions – When someone sends you an online comment – Respond as best as you can even if it is just to say you’ll dig up some more information and get right back to them. People will appreciate that and you may even get some new customers/clients.

The fluctuating nature of the web means that situations can arise unexpectedly and in various forms, and can often include an element of surprise that you didn’t envision. Your digital footprint is important, so if you do find yourself in the midst of negative online sentiment, consider some of these simple steps.  A proactive approach can turn the tables to achieve positive results rather than negative ones.