Let me refresh your memory. It was October 4 when the Blue Jays played against the Orioles. An epic victory for the Blue Jays in the wild-card game where Edwin Encarnion lead the Jays to victory with a one of a kind homerun, GO JAYS! So what’s so special, the Blue Jays win all the time right? Well, one of the Blue Jays fans decided to hit a homerun with his beer can, this is definitely not the sort of behavior the polite Canadians can relate to. Let the investigation begin…

Social Media Exploded; the Day After

Who was this person; the question that almost every Torontonian was asking themselves, everyone they knew and also the question of the Toronto Police Service (TPS). This so called “fan” behaved unacceptably and did not deserve to be called as such. The TPS took extreme measures by posting the picture of the alleged suspect in order to find out who he was. In little over 24 hours the picture was released on Twitter and almost begged to be Retweeted.

Toronto’s Most Wanted

Well the “efforts” certainly paid off, once again the power of social media is proven to be unprecedented. Later that night the suspect made arrangements to turn himself in and now carried the name of Ken Pagan (41). Sad but ironically Pagan is a sports copy editor for Postmedia (Toronto Sun). An award winning journalist now became the centre point of attention himself. Pagan is charged with mischief and set to appear on court on the 24th of November. While he still remains a suspect till proven otherwise, many people are questioning the TPS’s approach of releasing his picture on social media. These actions lead to some serious reputational damage for Pagan. Whether he is guilty or not, both scenarios represent an unpleasant outcome for Pagan. The fact that his name and pictures are associated with this incident already should be punishment on its own. Regardless whether he is charged guilty, his (online) reputation is damaged for life.

Can Online Reputation Management Still Save Pagan?

No, there you have your answer. While reputation management is very important and when done right, effectively, it isn’t a super power. This further stresses the concerns of many people, what the TPS did is irreversible. While this qualifies as a very extreme case, cases similar in essence do happen quite frequently. Especially companies are vulnerable to negative exposure. Reviews often determine whether someone decides to buy a product/engage a service or not. The online realm can be mean to anybody, but it is good to know there are certain tips and tricks to overcome these drawbacks.

Online Reputation Management to the Rescue

While Pagan’s reputation is damaged beyond repair, there are a few items we highlight you can use when something happens to your business. Follow these four steps and you will be rewarded with an impeccable online reputation;
1. Create a clear plan of action.
Whenever your company faces critique be ready to take action. This will help you and your employees to respond quickly and appropriately.

2. Respond quickly.
Let your customer know you appreciate their feedback, furthermore let them know you are working on it. This already is far better than replying a week later with a detailed solution. Another aspect comes in to place. If you leave negative comments, they have the chance to go viral. That is the last thing you want, Ken Pagan is a good example here.

3. Don’t delete negative comments.
Deleting comments will most likely upset people even further. Rather than deleting negative comments, the opportunity arises for your company to shine. If you manage to handle to situation properly, the costumer might even leave a positive comment and delete the old negative one. Only if someone is behaving really inappropriately should you delete the comment.

4. Own up to mistakes.
Everyone makes mistakes every once in a while. We are humans after all, however the way you solve the issue is what should sets you apart from the rest. When you face criticism, apologize to your customer and tell them how you will solve the situation. If someone is out there just to spread negativity, consider deleting the comment and blocking the user.