Managing Your Online Reputation

lina SkandalakisThe online world can be devastating to a company’s reputation.  It’s something PR professionals have been dealing with on a regular basis since the Internet became a real thing.  Last week, the PRSA Independent Counselors group invited Lina Skandalakis from the Everywhere Agency ( to talk with the group about some good processes to keep our clients shining brightly online.

Lina is a Senior Digital Account Executive with the agency. She does a great presentation — and I don’t want to give away all her secrets — but here’s an overview of what she shared with us. (Call and hire her if you really need help! @linacracy)

  • Safety First – Have a clearly written out policy on all your social media platforms that spells out what’s acceptable and what’s not. She suggests that most companies should allow a good discourse and conversation, unless it’s rude, abusive or foul language.
  • Be Prepared – Have a plan in place to deal with online issues. Who will respond? Is there a team that formulates a response strategy?
  • Monitor – Keeping an eye on what your audiences, customers and constituents are saying about you is key. Some companies have people whose job includes monitoring all social media and online platforms. For others that duty is one of many marketing or communications responsibilities. Lina mentioned a couple of tools that are good for monitoring assistance, including Hootsuite, Tagboard,, Topsy and Social Mention.
  • Be Transparent – Being open about your company’s thoughts and issues, particularly in a crisis situation, can build trust.
  • Respond Thoughtfully – Think about what you say in your responses. Online conversations can quickly spiral out of control, especially if the company responds in defensive or negative way to a legitimate customer concern.  She showed an example where a company responded between 2 – 5 a.m. to negative postings. The responses were defensive and antagonistic and didn’t help an already negative situation.
  • 4Cs for Response – Control, Compassion, Commitment, Communication

You can reach Lina via Twitter at @linacracy.

One of the things that came up in the conversation is what to do when someone posts negative comments about you online. It’s difficult if not impossible to get those comments taken down and it can be very frustrating to see them every time you do a search on your company. One solution is to generate additional content of your own (positive of course!) that will push those negative comments far down on any search results page.

(Google studies show that most people don’t go beyond the first page of survey results. I found one that said 75 percent don’t go to the second page and I’ve seen other numbers that are even higher.)


Mitch Leff is The Atlanta PR Guy. He’s the president of Leff & Associates Public Relations (, an Atlanta-based PR agency. Leff also operates Leff’s Atlanta Media ( an online database with contact info for thousands of Atlanta-based journalists, and Mitch’s Media Match (, a service that connects Atlanta journalists with local experts and sources.

Contact him at, (404) 861-4769, on Twitter (@mitchleffPR), or on Facebook.



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