While the old saying says there’s no such thing as bad publicity, anyone that has to take control of a social media crisis knows that’s simply not the case. Knowing how to deal with these types of situations has become increasingly important as social media becomes a permanent fixture in our lives. Luckily, adapting to these changes in the public relations landscape is as simple as modifying existing tactics to better suit the social media trend.
Don’t Shoot From the Hip
If your first impulse upon seeing wave after wave of consumer outcry plastered over your Facebook or Twitter feed is to openly and publicly react: ignore it. Misplaced comments and inaccurate statements can only serve to further outrage consumers and create a greater distance between you and the people you want to help. Take the time to properly research what is upsetting people and it will pay off in the long run.
Confront Issues Head-On
While the Internet has blessed the world with many gifts, it can also have its drawbacks when it comes to providing information that people would rather not see brought up. Regardless of the secret that members of the company would rather keep hidden, it’s far better to simply be open about them than to risk accusations in the future.
Similar to confronting issues head-on, being genuine is a great way of simply owning up to past company mistakes and promising to correct them for the future. As they say, honesty sometimes really is the best policy. Beware of faulty promises though, as social media sites make it easier than ever to dig up past comments made by company personnel.
The entire point of social media is to bring people closer together than ever before. With that in mind, it’s important to have an actual face that people can associate with a company when their complaints are being handled. It’s easier to forgive for past wrongs and be open to change when people feel they’re talking to a fellow human being and not a faceless corporate entity.
Allow Power Users to Take Charge
Creating a strong, self-sufficient community is important to building the strength of a brand. To help foster such a community, it’s a good idea to provide clear, concise information and then sit back to allow “power” users to take over. These power users will emerge from within the community to guide newer ones and will be able to answer many questions that you would otherwise have to waste time and energy on.
This is an old tactic for the new era. If you find your Facebook or other social media page being constantly bombarded by negative feedback or consumer criticisms, it’s a good idea to redirect future consumers to a different, more manageable site for discussion. Websites like Twitter are great social media sites because comments move through the site very quickly within hours.