If you’re in business, you need to have a plan in place to deal with bad press. At some point or another, it may happen to you, whether it’s a slanderous article or something as simple as a steady flow of bad reviews. Either way, you need to know how to deal with it.
First of all, you need a strategy in place so if there’s an incident, you can get ahead of the story. Scrambling to get your stuff together will just delay you from taking control of the situation. Write a brief crisis communication plan, even if it’s just a couple of pags long, and make sure your marketing, PR or social squad is in agreement and on board.
How do you find out about this bad press? Hopefully not from your top client! Monitoring brand mentions through social tools or even just Google Alerts can help you find out about negative brand mentions before they get out of control.
During a PR crisis, and assuming the claim is true, the first thing you should do is take responsibility. Arguing publicly won’t get you anywhere, so react immediately with a transparent tone, and communicate with sensitivity. Even if there’s been a misunderstanding, it’s best to apologize upfront. Then take action or create a plan to rectify the problem.
You should also be prepared for a storm on social media. Everyone has something to say online. Managing your reputation by having a loyal following can help you create a strong base in case of a PR nightmare. Make sure you release any statement you make publicly on social media too. Pin it to the top of your Facebook page. Add it to your Instagram story. Post it multiple times on Twitter, so it’s visible. Don’t hide.
Once you handle the initial situation, assess the problem and come up with a solution. Knee-jerk reactions usually aren’t the best solution. As many before me have said, “Act; don’t react”. Make sure you share your solution publicly and make a promise that “X” will never happen again and explain the plan you have in place to prevent that. It makes people feel safer and more secure, and gives you an opportunity to make amends. I’m Robin Samora with the Fast Marketing Minute. I help brands like yours build credibility and expert status. Let’s set up a Zoom call if you’d like to learn more. Email me at Robin@RobinSamora.com. Talk tomorrow!