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Name: Julian Matthews
Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Hi. I'm a former journalist and Malaysian correspondent to CNet, ZDnet, Newsbytes (Washington Post-Newsweek Interactive wire agency), Nikkei Electronics Asia and I also previously contributed to The Star, The Edge, The New Straits Times, The New Zealand Herald and various magazines. Currently, I train and advise managers and executives on strategies to optimize their use of social media and online channels to reach customers. My company, Trinetizen Media, runs media training workshops on social media, media relations, investor relations, corporate blogging, podcasting, multimedia marketing, online advertising, multimedia journalism and crisis communications. You can connect with me on Facebook or LinkedIn or Twitter.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Tactics for online crisis management

From the Obama campaign's to Coca-Cola's Facts and Myths page, it is becoming increasingly clear that an always-on online presence is necessary to fight against rumour mongers, disgruntled ex-employees, speculators and brand terrorists.

The new front in reputation management is online. Corporations, institutions political parties, celebrities and non-profits need to get streetsmart in social media skills fast or find themselves easy targets for the smear artists.

The only defence seems to be pro-active vigilance and, if needed, a rumour-fighting, hoax-killing, myth-shattering website of your own. The faster you get your message out - accurately and with a credible voice, the better to protect your rep online.

Marty Weintraub has 8 ways toput up a defence on the search engine optimization front at the aimClear blog.

The gist:
1. PAGERANK: Evaluate the authority of the page on which the negative content is published. Take a look at PageRank and inbound links profile using Yahoo Site Explorer.

2.GO LEGAL: If search results violate copyright or trademark laws, fire the first salvo through your law firm with a cease and desist order. (Be a realist though. Some insolent jerk halfway around the world won't give a rat's ass about your attorney's saber rattling.)

3.WATCH OUT FOR VIRAL BACKFIRE: My grandmother says never to "get into a pissing contest with a skunk. Even if you stink." Build your content to outrank the perpetrator's.

4.CALL IN THE SOCIAL MEDIA EXPERT: I can’t tell you how many times we’ve seen a business person, who has no experience in social media, climb into a comments thread and make things SO much worse. If you’re not a regular contributer in a specific social media channel, learning the vernacular while under duress is not the best choice.

5.ENGAGE: Start with classic high road messages of respect and understanding: "I understand your position," "respect your right to express your feelings in public," "am grateful for the opportunity to engage in a dialog" and "what can we do to make things right?"

6.NUKE 'EM: There are non-white hat methods available to 'eliminate' the problem.

7.CONSIDER PAID SEARCH: This is short-term "lesser of all evils" option.

8.DITCH FLASH: One of our newer clients came to us under assault from a disgruntled former customer. Our client's website was entirely a Flash movie, literally with no deep indexing. Solving the "crises" was as simple as re-publishing the site in HTML with Flash elements instead of a full Flash movie.



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