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I’ve been reading a really great book called The New Rules of Marketing and PR, and have found some innovative information regarding PR image. The book does reference some negative PR stereotypes, but for the most part provides wonderful insight into how to properly manage image by monitoring what is said about your organization on the internet.

It’s really important to consistently monitor blogs that frequently mention your organization, and to employ the use of certain tools/software that look for keywords that relate to your company. When you do discover something that is written about your organization, monitor what is being said, but simply allow the dialogue to flow naturally. If/when the conversation’s tone changes, and negative things are written, be prepared to respond pro-actively, but not aggressively.

There have been many cases in which just a couple of well-written responses completely changed the negative tone back to a positive dialogue. On the other hand, if negative remarks go unaddressed, an organization can seem like it doesn’t care about its consumers, leaving the issues unresolved only to fester into a larger problem.  Actively monitoring blogs and various keywords can help maintain a positive image for your organization and avoid potential problems further down the line.

Reputation management is about being pro-active and immediately addressing any problems that arise. Reputation management is a very important part of maintaining any organization’s positive image.

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For any well-trained PR professional it’s obvious that image plays a huge part of any organization’s success. With that said, in what specific ways do organizations influence their own public image? Some organizations are impecably in-tune with how they manage their image, while others are not as well-versed in the topic. In this post I’ll be taking a look at a couple of different ways in which PR professionals can influence an organization’s public image through social media.

One example I found was in the article Brands Face Stream Fatigue as Consumers Look Beyond Gimmicks in Social Networks (http://www.briansolis.com/2012/02/brands-face-stream-fatigue-as-consumers-look-beyond-gimmicks-in-social-networks/), in which Brian Solis explores the vast impact that social media has on image. In the article Brian explains how social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, are at times not managed properly and have negative effects on image. When an organization neglects to pay attention to the needs/preferences of it’s audience (and simply streams “spam” via their various social media platforms,) it will lose followers as well as consumer loyalty. On the other hand, public image is enhanced when a brand is properly managed and an organization engages it’s audience. Organizations must encourage two-way dialogue to promote the positive effect of social media on image.

Another way to promote a positive public image is by utilizing social media as a customer service tool. In the article/video How Social Media Has Changed Customer Service (http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/how-social-media-has-changed-customer-service/), Michael Stelzner explores how to use social media as an extremely effective customer service tactic. By thoroughly monitoring an organizaton’s various social media platforms and interacting with followers, an organization will be seen as pro-active and sensitive to consumer needs. This also creates a sense of accessibility for consumers, which is vital to enhancing the way an organization is viewed.

As public relations professionals, we realize the importance of an organization establishing its voice and a positive image within the community. This, of course, is vital for any organization no matter what sector it belongs to (corporate, government, healthcare, entertainment, and so on.) It is because of the importance of this relationship that I have chosen to further explore the direct correlation between effective public relations and an organization’s image.

 

For those that are unfamiliar with the definition of public relations it may go unnoticed that the PR field is much more than simply corresponding with the media and issuing press releases; it’s about building and maintaining relationships upon which an organization’s success or failure depends. Although this definition may be changing soon, at least according to the Public Relations Society of America, the fact will remain, that in order for an organization to have a positive image in the eyes of the public, there’s a certain degree of strategy and tact that must be employed by properly trained PR professionals. A positive image doesn’t just happen by sheer chance, rather it’s through hard work and dedication by an organization’s staff with the guidance of a PR professional. Without the assistance of a PR pro, there are many crucial aspects that an organization can overlook including the importance of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), transparency, or even crisis management.

 

In the next few weeks I’ll take a closer look at how PR professionals are key in advising an organization’s management staff on overall image. Attention to every detail (when it comes to image) will prove to be most beneficial in an organization’s journey to success.