The Online Reputation Guide in Crisis Situations on Social Platforms
The best way to maintain a positive online reputation that has been built up over the years is by avoiding conflicts and negative outbreaks. The internet has enabled users to actively contribute to a company’s reputation via social media platforms. As such, brands should understand that they have a two dimensional presence: in the real and the digital world.
What happens in one dimension will affect the other and vice versa. A reputation crisis can appear in either of the dimensions and quickly spread everywhere. That’s why digital communication is vital for any business, not only large organizations. When it comes to social platforms, companies should have protocols and answers ready for when a crisis outbreaks.
Develop a Crisis Protocol
The first step is damage mitigation and prevention where possible. Every company should have a clear distribution of responsibilities within the communications team in the event of an online reputation crisis. Quick coordination will lead to swift action that should prevent a widespread of negative mentions.
After creating the crisis protocol, you should monitor what is said about the brand. This will offer the opportunity to immediately address any negative mention. Not every negative mention will generate a crisis if it’s addressed within a reasonable timeframe.
Be transparent with your communication when addressing negative mentions. Trying to censor any users will only ignite a bigger dispute between your brand and your followers. Ideally, respond in a professional manner and redirect them to the person or department that can help them with their issue.
Making mistakes is human after all and no company has an impeccable track record. Acknowledging that your company made an error signals to your followers that you are eager to improve and right any wrongs. After identifying any mistake, proceed to apologize and offer an alternative compensation to the respective customer. Recognizing mistakes can also invite a sentiment of appreciation and sympathy from your followers.
Preparation is the best tool to avoid reputation crises. Considering that the speed at which you can find a resolution in the event of a crisis, having statements on key aspects prepared in advance can help your business contain any reputation damage. All members of your communications team has to be on the same page about these statements and there should be a person responsible for any last-minute modifications to adapt these for a specific crisis.