In the Chinese language, the characters that spell out the word “crisis”,wēijī, are formed from the the sinographs that translate to something like “incipient moment” or “crucial point”. A wēijī is a perilous situation when one should be especially careful and wary. It is not usually a time when one goes looking for advantages and opportunities. In a crisis, our instincts tell us to save ourselves and run! I want to offer you a different perspective.
SEO Jedis has a slightly different philosophy when it comes to your business’ social media crisis’. We think this is the time for you to look for the opportunity in the moment. After the strong feelings of angst and embarrassment have subsided a bit dig deep and reveal your business’ strengths and shining attributes to the online world. Learn how to turn those bad reviews and negative posts about your business into PR gold.
Some companies are learning how to pivot, by using the moment that would normally damage their brand to instead show their audience that their business is listening, taking people’s comments to heart and being agile enough to grow and become better. So how do you do that?
- Pick a Social Media Manager – This is incredibly important. Nominate one person from your team to handle the social media and online crisis’. This person will become the voice of your company so it is important that they have the ability to stay calm and friendly when it feels like the company’s reputation is under attack. Choose wisely. You do not want someone who is prone to defensiveness. This is a job for a person with EXCELLENT customer service skills and salesmanship.
- Immediately get this person and/or team on social media and answer every tweet, post and comment with thoughtful answers. Do not let your audience think your company does not care. If you let these tweets and posts go unanswered you are essentially telling the world that all of those negative comments are true.
- Stay calm and if possible inject a little humour into the post and tweets to diffuse the situation. By doing this you are showing your company’s ability to handle it’s crisis’ with speed and importance without taking itself too seriously. When people and brands have the ability to make fun of themselves, their audience is more apt to be forgiving and perhaps become your champions.
Learn who your audience is, if you think you may relieve some of the tension of the moment with humour, do it. But, if you think the humour may be misunderstood or offensive or even slightly insensitive leave it out. Don’t make the PR mess worse by mis-reading your audience or the tenor of the moment.
Pt. 2 Next week!