By Frank Emanuele A reputation takes years to build, but just seconds to damage irreparably. In today's evolving social landscape, brands need to be prepared when a crisis arises. Managing your brand's reputation on social media is more than just developing a friendly voice. It's a way of shaping the conversation surrounding your brand. What would you do if you found yourself in the middle of a social media fire drill tomorrow?
1. Do NOT "Deny, Deny, Deny"
If you make a mistake, be upfront about it. Don't beat around the bush. Acknowledge what happened, respond accordingly, apologize if appropriate, and explain what you will do to make amends. Humility speaks volumes.
2. Say Something Meaningful
Always be authentic in your response to a crisis situation. People can smell insincerity a mile away, and they will call you out. A non-apologetic apology like, "Mistakes were made," or "We're sorry if you're offended," only serves to further anger an already sensitive public.
3. Know When To Back Down
Stand your ground and don't be bullied by individuals trying to take advantage of your delicate situation, but also know when to throw in the towel. If you make a brand announcement such as a price increase or a change of service that upsets a large number of customers, be open to the possibility that you made the wrong decision.
4. Have a Contingency Plan
Think of it as a real-life fire drill: each member of your team should have a responsibility that they are prepared to carry out in case of emergency. Different team members should be at the ready to monitor fan sentiment through listening platforms, communicate with the public, and alert others within your organization (i.e. stakeholders & employees).
5. Shape Sentiment Through Influence
For the first time, you can play an active role in establishing your reputation. Assets like a company blog and social properties help your brand connect with your public to change perceptions. A CEO or other representative who can take speaking engagements will keep you relevant among peers and colleagues. Use these channels to generate positive sentiment during "normal" times. That way, when a crisis arises, you'll already have the support of a positive fan base.
Have you ever worked through a social media crisis? Tell us about your experience!