Saving Your Brand Image
By: Tina Samuels
There have been situations where a former employee has tried to damage the brand of their former employer.
This might be done by posting inappropriate items on the company's web page, their Twitter feed, or Facebook pages. The employee may even create satire accounts or blogs dedicated to destroying the brand they were employed by.
If you are the brand, you may be wondering just what you can do to salvage your reputation.
First things first – breathe.
Take stock of exactly what has been done and what the initial damage to your brand has been. The fix may be simple, delete the offensive posts and issue an apology. Let customers know that the person involved was a disgruntled employee (or former employee) and has been released from duty.
If the remarks or attack was on the practices of your brand, address your practices.
Let customers know what you are working on, how the changes will be implemented, and clarify if any statements were untrue. Be transparent about your business practices.
Speak with other employees to find out their opinions or advice. Everyone has something to offer or hidden talents.
Perhaps your employees have hours of social media skills they use for a side business (such as blogging) that can be used to save your brand. Put these employees to work and be sure to compensate them for their extra time on the reputation salvage mission.
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Hire Outside Help
When you aren't sure how or what to do to save your brand, you might consider hiring a reputation management company.
These companies specialize in helping brands recover from bad press. As an outside entity, you'll save money over the option of hiring a full time, on site reputation management staff. Unless your company is a Fortune 500 business, using an outsourced company is usually the best option.
If the attacks continue, don't let customers wonder.
Be upfront and honest about what is going on. Many people have experienced that one person in their lives that need to make life miserable for everyone else. Don't name the employee – this can cause legal problems. Never give out any personal information
You can address the situation by posting a disclaimer on your social media pages and static web pages that state: “Our company has come under attack by a former employee. We regret that (insert negative action here) took place, and we are doing all we can to resolve the issue. Thank you for your continued support as we work through this trying time.”
Loyal customers or brand fans will usually stand with the company.
However, you must make sure all customer information is safe from any former employee to avoid harassing emails or loss of data. Customer information that becomes unsafe can cause even more problems than saving your brand.
If the person stalking your business refuses to stop, keep a log of all activity. Report the actions to authorities and if you must, hire a lawyer.
When all is said and done, it is a crime to hack into any web account; you can hold the person legally responsible for any loss of business if they were slandering your company.
About the Author: Tina Samuels writes on social media, car insurance, marketing, and other small business topics.