Oprah Winfrey, one of the world’s richest women valued at over 2.9 billion dollars, was refused 3 times the opportunity to examine and purchase a 37 thousand dollar Tom Ford handbag.  This happened at a posh upscale boutique in Switzerland.a

The resulting news and social media backlash for the boutique involved and Switzerland itself (the country’s tourism office also apologized to her) was rapid and explosive, with negative commentary from news organizations, Facebook, Twitter, media publications and the like chiming in.

Don’t be surprised by this!  Anything that touches on deeply personal values (racism, gender equality, lifestyle, health, etc.) will quickly mushroom into an immense social media unconscious event.  It will either become a social media dream or in this particular case…the ultimate social media brand reputation management nightmare.

This wake up call provides a powerful opportunity for businesses regarding their reputation management process. Not every business has a plan in place and for those who don’t know where to start, consider these 3 compelling reputation management tips.

1.)  Track your brand’s mention on news alert services like Talkwalker or Google News.

These free services will automatically alert social media/brand managers whenever their business shows up in news sites, blogs and other Internet properties.

Learn more at:

2.)  Track your brand’s mention on Facebook and Twitter and Tumblr via hashtags.

This will provide social media/brand managers an early alert to either positive or negative mentions online and give them an edge in quick response.

To do this, simply visit the social network’s search feature and append a “#” in front of the brand name like #oprah or #toysrus or #sears . Save that search for future reference.

3.)  Educate your sales force on how to increase positive customer care experiences.

Today’s wealthy influencers might not dress like Wall Street executives but they certainly have the media clout to alert the world as to their shopping experiences and brand interactions. Sales personnel need to be sensitive to the notion that every reaction they offer can be immediately broadcasted online, positive OR negative.

Remember, bad news travels faster than good news. Fast Company reports that the typical customer tells an average of 16 other people about a poor service experience, but only tells nine about the good ones. Add to that the power of social media gives to sharing personal consumer experiences, and it simply makes good business sense for businesses to proactively protect their brand reputation online.