Around 59% of business owners experience a crisis at some point. There are certain things you should do when your company experiences an online PR crisis.
About 53% of PR crises are due to controversial company development. Nearly 43% of PR crises are negative or critical new media campaigns. You never know when you’ll need serious PR crisis management.
That’s why you need to be prepared.
Here’s what you need to know about managing a PR crisis.
Have a Plan For Online PR Crises
Don’t wait until a PR crisis strikes to develop a PR management strategy. The more you plan for a PR crisis, the easier your time will be during an actual crisis.
Create an online business PR strategy. This will officialize a protocol for a crisis situation. That way, there will be a pre-planned set of steps to take in order to address an issue.
Have an individual in your company picked out to publicly address crises both online and in person. This person should be eloquent, empathetic, and professional.
According to digital PR rules, you have to respond if you have a social media PR problem. You should respond in a timely, polite manner that also acknowledges the problem.
Cancel all other scheduled posts when you have an online business PR crisis. Attempting to engage in online marketing at this time will come off as insensitive.
Mention the changes your business will be enacting to avoid this problem in the future. Be transparent about what needs to improve in the company.
Don’t lash out at social media users or attempt to censor their posts. This will generate more outrage.
Don’t send an anonymous source to apologize on your company’s behalf. This will infuriate the internet.
Chances are, social media users will want answers. You should respond to questions and concerns surrounding the crisis. This is an essential part of online reputation management.
Whatever you do, don’t lie about what happened. Online PR media will have no sympathy for you then. Being transparent and authentic is good for your brand’s image.
Don’t respond to trolls or insults. Focus on being transparent and making changes in your business. Never, ever be rude, mean, or belittling in your responses.
A notable public relation crisis example is Shea Moisture. Shea Moisture releases hair care products.
Shea Moisture thought they were being inclusive by having women with different hair types in television commercials. However, all of the women in the commercial were white.
It’s important to note that Shea Moisture’s consumer base is women of color. As such, the social media backlash was scathing. WOC social media users accused the company of white-washing and insensitivity.
Shortly after the crisis emerged, Shea Moisture made social media posts which included an honest apology.
The company also vowed to do better in the future and be more inclusive towards their consumers.
Clear up Your Reputation
The longer you wait to acknowledge a PR crisis, the damage done to your brand worsens. Failing to acknowledge an online PR crisis can make you lose customers on a long-term basis.
Lawyers might advise you to wait on formulating a response. However, this will negatively impact consumers’ views of your business. It’s better to face the music and deal with the online PR problem head-on.
Invest in your company’s image and learn more about online reputation management. Your business is counting on you to build its reputation.