The Importance of Communication in Handling an Online Reputation Crisis

The online reputation of any business is a great opportunity that can lead to improved results in sales and customer acquisition. At the same time, there are risks associated with a brand’s online presence. A reputation crisis can quickly spread over the internet and massively disrupt a business’ operational activity.

Just like in online reputation management, there are plenty of practices for crisis management. In order to mitigate a break out of a reputation crisis, consider using the following communication guidelines.

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Control Access to Online Profiles

There have been a lot of cases when a company’s social profile posted something that wasn’t meant for their specific profile — and all this due to a simple human error. A single mistake online will be immediately picked up by followers and could easily escalate into something bigger. Carefully consider who should have access to the company’s social profiles. You will want to make sure that whoever is managing the access to your profiles is aware of the risks associated and is able to be diligent about it.

Crisis Communication Channel

In order to be prepared for a crisis break out, you need to have an effective crisis communication plan to quickly address the situation.

In the case of a social media backlash or a negative news headline going viral, the first step is to have a channel for quick communication. Everyone concerned from crisis management and other stakeholders should have a convenient way for communicating between each other about statements, checklists and other crisis-related information. An application for internal communication can enable your team to send real-time alerts and notifications to key members of the organization as the crisis unfolds. All of this reduces your brand’s response time.

Crisis Communication Statements

Online reputation crises unfold at a rapid pace and your business has to be able to respond accordingly. A useful tip is to formulate generic statements for different scenarios that can be adapted in the course of a crisis.

When drafting this kind of statements, work together with every department, human resources, PR, marketing, legal and sales to create well-rounded statements for several scenarios. There are different types of crises like a product recall or a negative online review — and different departments might be better prepared at handling different crises. Finally, they fill in as much information as possible and then gain approval from all necessary parties. As such, when an online crisis arises, they already have approval to use the statement, which can save precious time and help them respond right away.

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