Published: Sunday, 09 March 2014 23:53
Every company undergoes it at some given point. Just Google it on the internet and you will find a good number of problems involving high profile companies. In an era where social media has become one of the major sources of information, controlling PR crises has become even more challenging. One false step and your business may get promoted throughout cyberspace in a matter of hours. But at the same time, one can use these same media channels to fight negative press. In fact, there are many PR professionals who plan strategies keeping in mind their possible impact on social media. The important question is how one should approach the problem.
Communication: Any relationship, be it personal or professional, can become stronger through communication. Moreover, communication helps one to clarify doubts and misunderstandings. Proper communication becomes more important during the time of PR crisis. It is very important that you place your side of the story to the customers without losing any time. And it is here that social media can help. A short message on Twitter or a Facebook post will get you more attention than mere press releases. Remember, keeping mum will not help you at all; rather, it will be seen as an acceptance of the mistake.
Preparation: The best way to avoid a crisis is to stay prepared for it. Though some of the crises are unforeseen, some others happen because we tend to overlook alerts. Starting a social media profile is a first step. Opening one at the moment of crises will not help. The more you nurture your social relationships through these sites, the better it is. This will help you to get the confidence of the users. You will also come to know what people are saying and thinking about your brand, services, and product. Any negative talk or any red signal, and you can act on it immediately.
Introduce “Black Pages”: The term “black pages” may catch some unaware. But, it is just a fancy name of a web page where your users and other browsers can post their comments and feedback on various topics. Most of the time, these pages operate live sessions. Understand the possible problems that can crop up while running the business, and prepare their solutions or answers. So, if any of these questions comes up in future, you may immediately provide the answers.
Propose Service: While offering solutions to any crises, continue an attitude of service provider over the social media. A humble tone and acceptance of mistakes, followed by quick solution will keep your customers happy. Chances are that you will get a good load of positive tweets or Facebook posts.
Continuous Process: Though it’s a bad habit, the common practice is that people start ignoring social media once the crisis is handled. Considering the trend in businesses, this will not be a wise move. Irregular presence in social media will not give you any benefits. As said earlier, keeping a relationship is a continuous and long process. If you remember the social media in your good times as well, it will definitely be of great help to you during your worst times.
Social media are neither the enemy nor the competitors of the PR department. Rather, they are one of the most potent weapons that the department can use to evade or solve a crisis.