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Managing Online Reputation

How To Protect Your Company On Social Media

By Charlie Pownall
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Managing Online Reputation by Charlie Pownall

Managing Online Reputation (2015) offers insight into how companies and CEOs who don’t know how to manage social media and the internet can damage their reputations. Find out how one small incident with an unhappy customer can spiral into a tornado of negative posts and angry tweets. More importantly, find out how you can prevent this from happening to you.


Key idea 1 of 8

Online promotional campaigns can backfire and lead to a lot of negative publicity for companies.

If you saw the TV show Mad Men, you have a good idea of how lucrative and glamorous the advertising industry was in the 1950s. Today, however, this profession faces a slew of utterly different challenges.

Nowadays, many companies rely on online advertising campaigns, which are by nature especially risky. Often, they backfire.

A successful social media campaign will definitely boost a company’s profile; however, all social-media campaigns are also an open invitation for people to post any number of embarrassing comments.

In November 2011, the Australian airline Qantas launched a campaign on Twitter called #QantasLuxury. The idea was to advertise the advantages of its first class services.

Qantas asked customers to use the hashtag and describe their idea of an ideal luxury flight; the person with the best response would receive a free first-class flight.

However, within a matter of hours, the company was forced to deal with an avalanche of unhappy comments from customers who decided to use the opportunity to vent about the many issues they had with the airline.

For instance, one user dreamed of being under five-feet tall so as to be able to comfortably stretch out on a Qantas skybed. Others wrote about how luxurious it would be if Qantas flights actually took off and landed on time.

Qantas also learned that it’s impossible to control a story once it has been picked up by internet media. Before long, the airline’s old issues, as well as ongoing problems, were resurfacing.

One especially touchy subject was the airline’s safety record: A year earlier, in 2010, an A380 aircraft had caught fire outside Singapore. Though no passengers were injured, it was an incident many users were all too happy to bring back up.

All of this quickly caught the attention of the mainstream press outlets, like the BBC and the Sydney Morning Herald, who regularly patrol places like Twitter in search of tasty tidbits just like this one. They posted it to their own Facebook and Twitter pages, attracting even more attention and putting it completely out of Qantas’s control.

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