Being in control of your image is a blessing few public figures have.

Kanye wants us to think he’s a god-given genius and BP want us to forget about that irreversible damage they did in the Gulf of Mexico. Neither of those things are likely to happen any time soon.


Controlling what you say is easy enough, and we’ve talked before about how to make it exciting.

Tackling what people say about you is a harder task – a challenge that broadly falls under the classification ‘reputation management’.

What is reputation management?

Short answer: Managing your online reputation through social media.

Long answer: In absence of total control of your brand’s image, reputation management seeks to guide the conversation boat with subtle interventions, making sure it doesn’t veer into stormy waters.


Curbing the bad conversation and amplifying the good ones leads to an elevated online reputation.

If negative conversation grows around a brands, a solid strategy should be in place to address the concerns, adjust the course, and minimize the fallout surrounding the controversy.

How do the pros do it?

Replying to tweets directed at your account or deleting angry comments on a Facebook page is unlikely to make an impact on your brand’s perception alone.

Most of the discourse surrounding public figures or brands is untagged, and the everyman doesn’t have to time religiously crawl the web for any and all mentions.

Big brands are companies use these strategies and tools:

  • Track everything. By crawling the entire web (not just social) for all mentions of a brand, business have the upper hand by preventing any conversation slipping through the filter.
  • Find the influencers. An Instagram big shot will have a greater impact on the public’s attitude than a tweeter with a handful of followers. Sorting people by their Impact Score will surface who’s swaying public opinion. Finding – and reaching out to – these people will return a bigger impact for the same effort.
  • Analyze the sentiment. With thousands of brands mentions happening a day, it’s impossible to identify the mood of every single one manually. Algorithms in social analytics tools automatically categorise a mention into a positive or negative sentiment, helping brands combat the most potentially damaging conversation quickly.
  • Get real-time data. The difference between surviving and perishing in a social media crisis is measured in minutes. Our friend #ChevyGuy was turned from a national embarrassment into a loveable mascot because Chevy tracked saw their mentions come in minute-by-minute and responded immediately.
  • Set up automatic alerts. Crises don’t always happen during office hours. In fact, they’re much more likely to happen when everyone’s away from their social media command centres. By having alerts automatically sent out to stakeholders when mentions spike or sentiment turns nasty, businesses have adapted to react to social fallouts all hours of the day.
  • By breaking up the essentials of reputation management like this, the mammoth task of influencing public opinion becomes much easier.

We’ve compiled a comprehensive guide on reputation management with examples from Boeing & Asiana, Beverly Hills Hotel & United Airlines. It’s also got steps on how to deal with an incoming crisis and assess the damage.

Anyone know Kanye’s email address? We think he might need a copy.