Company controversies, C-Suite scandals, and disgruntled employees have ran especially rampant in our news’ cycles over the past few years; however, what has been more explosive has been the extent of public criticism and backlash to insensitive products or media campaigns.
Luckily though, to our benefit, history has exposed a number of companies who have either periled or succeeded in the face of a PR nightmare – allowing us to understand what went wrong.
There are no remedies (at least for now) for evolving technology, human error, and extreme public vigilance, but your company can survive with dignity any type of social media crisis with these tips below.
Crisis Creates Opportunities
Bad press can leave a permanent scar, but it can also help you gain and retain new followers – if handled correctly. For example, after rumors were spread in regards to whether asbestos was in Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder, the brand immediately found the opportunity to educate and highlight all ingredients here on Twitter.
Communicating to your audience following a crisis should always begin with ownership and apology – explanations can then follow. The first thing your audience will not want to read is a long, excuse ridden explanation on why the inappropriate/offensive/insensitive post occurred – would you. That is why answerability is needed.In addition to your audience, your company should take ownership in who is responsible for what, even if that means using a digital marketing agency with a focus on reputation management to give you the resources you need to get it done.
Who will be reaching out to the board of trustees, key stakeholders, and important clients? What will be said, and how will your crisis management plan ensures the company will not far apart? This is why cultivating and practicing a plan, just as a family may prepare for a fire or flood, is crucial in your company’s longevity.
You Can’t Spell Apology Without ‘Sorry’
What’s one of the biggest mistakes companies make when trying to avert crisis? Saying everything except the word “sorry.” Other versions expressed may include, “It won’t happen again,” or “Our customers mean everything to us,” but none of them ring quite as effectively as the simple, “We’re sorry.”For example, after a flurry of negative attention around Joe Biden’s potential presidential campaign began, he decided to post some sort of apology video online via Twitter. The problem with the said apology video was that Biden never actually took ownership or said the words, “I’m sorry.” At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter who was right or wrong – what matters is that take the moral high ground. As Michelle Obama likes to say, “When they go low, we go high.”
And it’s all about staying motivated throughout the process!
Reevaluate Your Content Schedule
Before even deliberating the ideal response to crisis, put a stop to your scheduled content ASAP. If your audience sees a regularly scheduled tweet such as, “Have a great weekend!,” following an inappropriate post – not only will your audience be confused, they may become outraged and think you’re not paying attention. “It’s critical for all communication to be planned, consistent, and appropriate in tone,” says Hootsuite. “A scheduled post will be none of those things.” A schedule will also help reduce stress.
Secure Your Social Platforms
A huge culprit of a social media disaster is giving the wrong person the wrong access. For example, according to PWC, employees are more likely to cause a security threat than outside hackers. Account passwords should be held only by trusted managers and higher level executives so as to avoid upset and vengeful temporary, or veteran employees creating any potential disasters.
Utilize Social Listening Metrics
By using the right social listening program, you may be able to prevent a problem before it becomes visible. When choosing the ideal program, metrics should include:
- Brand mentions – To see who is speaking about your brand and what they are saying.
- Brand social sentiment – To see who people feel about your brand.
- Inappropriate links posted on social channels – To ensure you can quickly delete and better manage who may be contributing to your platforms.
- Offensive content targeting your brand – Self-explanatory, but you’d be surprised how many brands fail to realize this is something they can prevent and minimize by using the right program.
- Scams targeting your brands’ customers – Loyalty and authenticity are crucial to a brands overall character. By preventing anything such as targeted scams, that could diminish your audience’s trust, you are a lot more likely to retain your audience.
About the Author:
Alex Sal is a business journalist and editing manager of SideHustleBusinessHacks.com, a free resource to help entrepreneurs be productive and efficient with their business goals and objectives.