Summer’s coming. What’s your online reputation management plan?

Spring green Leafs - defocused Background

Because online reputations do not take a vacations.

Ah, the May long weekend.  Happy times in Canada.  In Toronto, everything is bursting into bloom (though my friends in BC have been gloating about their gardens for WEEKS, the meanies). Harsh contrast to my brother John Leclair’s home in Cranberry Portage, Manitoba where the ice is still thick on the lake, but Spring is gradually arriving there too.

Spring will quickly turn to summer, and maybe the rhythm of your work week will be shifting: with folks going on vacation, dealing with their kids’ activities, weddings here and there, maybe staff going on flex time or summer hours, having summer students or interns at your site.  So how are you going to keep your business communications flowing smoothly as the days get warm and relaxed, and things are much less routine?

I have a three suggestions now, and will probably have more later:

1. Make a summer communications plan. I don’t mean vague things like “blog on Tuesday, e-newsletter on the 15th of month”. What do you want to say over the summer? What typically goes on in your industry during the summer? What are your colleagues and customers thinking about and talking about? What can you (or your team members) write about that will keep you at the forefront of your sector?

Start making a list now of topics you want to cover between now and Labour Day to keep connected to your customers and clients. Don’t let your presence or level of engagement slip because of the change in routines. At the same time, try to avoid automating too many of your postings (more on that tomorrow).

2. Find one thing you can do to make your company more human to your customers. I know the common parlance is business-to-business, and business-to-consumer, but as I’ve said before, we are all just people talking to people.

Maybe you could have a special feature once a week on your blog or facebook page, that encourages your folks to talk about the great things in the warm season: maybe a Monday “How was your weekend?”  post; a Friday “What’s cooking?” post; invite your people to share photos of their gardens or a vacation highlight.  (Be sure to track the site traffic for these posts, so you can learn more about what clicks with your people.)

3. Please do not put your online reputation in the hands of students or interns. Back when I ran STAF, I LOVED the fresh air that students blew into our office every summer, and they helped us with some great projects. Would I put our business reputation in their hands? Not a chance.

Even if you hire some great kid who seems to know everything about life online, they don’t know your business or customers, and they won’t be invested in those relationships. Pick their brains for tips and tricks, sure; but reputation management requires maturity, diplomacy, and experience. There are too many stories to mention about reputation management gone ka-blooey when the kids were left in charge; you do not want to be one of those stories! Your reputation is vital to your success: handle it with care.

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Enjoy the great weather while it’s here! Send me photos of your garden (or join the Toronto Gardeners group on Facebook  and share with more of us!). And if you need help with your summer communications strategy, monitoring, or upkeep, give me a call and I will be happy to lend a hand.

Posted in All posts, Blogging, Social Media for Beginners

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