Whether or not companies like to admit it, a public relations crisis is an inevitability that most organizations will eventually face. The response to a PR disaster can make or break a company’s public image. Here are 3 tips for taming any social media crisis that may arise in your organization.
1. Don’t Remove Negative Feedback
Some Facebook pages have become notorious for removing negative or critical comments posted by consumers. In 2014, Smucker’s received a lot of backlash for deleting critical customer comments and flagging them as spam. By deleting comments, particularly ones that have the opinions of the consumers clearly stated, companies are ultimately erasing the transparency that consumers hold dear. Rather than risk ruining brand reputation, consult someone higher up in your company or organization, and take a look at this helpful flow chart to help you make a decision.
2. Own Your Mistakes
The worst thing a brand can do in the face of a crisis is flat out ignore that there is a crisis to be managed. When DiGiorno’s pizza mistakenly used the hashtag #WhyIStayed to promote their product, they were quickly met with backlash. The topic was trending as a way to raise awareness about domestic abuse and violence. However, the brand was quick to own their mistakes, and responded to offended users both in a general, public tweet, and in personalized tweets to victims who had suffered domestic abuse.
Top tip: Always make sure you research a trending hashtag before using it to promote a product or event. You never want to put out content without knowing the context in which it’s being referenced.
3. Remain Calm
No one comes out a winner when a public screaming match occurs on the internet. While anonymity and keyboards may embolden both audiences on either side of a crisis, a major brand’s reputation could easily be destroyed if they begin attacking customers. Keep emotion out of the equation, and instead focus on being as professional and accommodating as possible.
Top tip: Some companies even hire outside crisis management personnel to keep responses cordial and emotions in check.
If you keep these tips in mind, your social media crisis will be managed masterfully.