In the space of 24 hours this week, I had the pleasure of co-presenting a webinar with Hootsuite on how to manage issues on social media, followed by a client workshop on the integration of social media as an effective tool for managing issues.
While both events looked at different aspects of issues management, one resounding theme was that communicators must end any lingering doubts as to whether social and digital media presence sits on the frontline when it comes to managing reputation.
The world we operate in now clearly demands that all brands need to be continuously protecting their brands online, through intelligent preparation and well thought out and practised response strategies. The speed and integration with which facts, not just news, are traded online has removed the last hope of traditional issues response strategies having an impact.
More and more organisations are waking up to the new reality that ‘facts’ and ‘truths’ are fully tradable commodities, to the extent that we should now regard the online environment as ultimately a trading floor of facts and truths. Therefore in today’s world, issues management is all about ensuring you, as a brand, are seen as the credible source of facts. Only then will you be able to own the conversation that is inevitably taking place around you.
Like any good trading floor, information data is available to help you control the trade. All organisations, as part of their preparedness, should know intimately who their online stakeholders are. Who are their advocates? Who are their detractors? Who is likely to amplify conservations about them? Who is going to curate those conversations so the story never ends? Equally, like all good financial modelling, we can learn from the past. The vast bank of online data allows you to potentially predict how an issue will play out, what its potential life cycle is and how other brands have survived or endured similar issues.
All of the above is available and at your fingertips. If you are not acting on it, I guarantee that someone else is and their intentions may not be in your best interests.