Please welcome guest blogger Jessica Sanders! Jessica is an avid small business writer touching on topics from social media to merchant services. She writes for an online resource that gives advice on topics including VOIP phone systems for b2b lead generation resource, Resource Nation. Your best way to handle some seriously bad PR? Take to your social networks and do some damage control. But, this isn’t your usual business damage control; I’m talking about turning the tables. Bringing the PR mess to a new light. After you’ve made your official public statement, it’s time to turn that bad day around, and make it work in your favor. Take this opportunity to communicate, engage, and be open with your customers and the public.
“In a PR crisis, communication is the key to managing it. Keep the media, customers, your staff and suppliers informed.” – Marketingdonut.co.uk
Once you’ve given your official apology statement, owned up to the mistake and stepped out of the spotlight – it’s time to handle the situation on your own. You have the most effective tools already set up, with lots of people watching – your social networks. Take advantage of these in turning it around, and addressing the people that mean to most to your company: the customers.
Take To Your Blog
Your blog is a great way to start tackling the negativity. This is a space that is yours and yours alone. You can choose what you say, and how you say it. Take this opportunity to discuss the allegations from a different angle.
- Historically bad PR: Highlight some other historically bad PR situations. Lay out what happened, how it was handled and how the company came out in the end. This can aid in reminding people that although you made a mistake, it’s not the first time this has happened.
- Break down your mission statement: Take this opportunity to remind customers why they are loyal to you in the first place. Use your mission statement to explain how you’re doing what you said you would and how you’ll remedy this in the future.
Take To Twitter
Twitter is a place to engage and connect with concerned customers. It should be easy enough to see what they are talking about, simply following trends and taking to your analytics software. However, this is your chance to be a part of the conversation, show your customers that they are important, and so is their opinion.
- What do your customers think: Ask them to give it to you straight, then ask them how they would prefer you mend the situation. Whether you take their advice or not, it shows you’re listening to those who may have been hurt the most.
- Ask debating questions: Start debating some bad PR topics. Bring the focus to bad PR in general, not necessarily your particular situation.
Take to Facebook
Facebook is another great space to interact with peeved customers, because this platform promotes conversing and connecting with them on a casual level. Because you’re addressing customers who may not be involved on Twitter, consider using some of the same tactics here, as well.
- Polls: Put up polls and ask your customers questions about how they feel, what they suggest, etc. Show them that you care about their opinions.
- Facebook campaign: Start a Facebook campaign with your fans. This should be taken on a case by case basis. For example, if there was a product failure, have customers post photos with a new or different product, etc.
Bad PR can have a real impact on any company involved. However, after addressing the public with an official statement, it’s critical that you focus on your customers; the people who make you or break you. Take to your social media and tackle that bad PR in no time.
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