We live in an instant society. Within minutes, news about your business can go viral and draw millions of eyeballs. Small and women-owned businesses count on social media platforms to gain the attention of their customers. And, in a perfect world, only your smartest tweets or most compelling videos would gain this much notice. Unfortunately, it’s a two-way street. The odds are just as good that an employee’s unsavory behavior or a poorly worded post will catch the public’s attention. When that happens, your response needs to be as swift as the firestorm you’re fighting. How you react to the crisis can be crucial for repairing your reputation and winning back the goodwill of your customers.
Your first task is put a strategy in place before things blow up. Planning for a PR emergency shouldn’t wait until you’re in the thick of it. Two of the most important aspects of your response should be openness and honesty. When you express genuine emotion and project a commitment to transparency, it makes it easier for your company to reestablish trust. As you craft your message, don’t fall into the trap of taking a defensive posture. Try to see the situation from your customers’ perspective and take their views into consideration. Finally, one of the most meaningful steps you can take is to own up to your mistakes and accept responsibility for them.
A PR crisis can flare up in an instant in today’s digitally connected world. That makes it critical to be prepared to act quickly and decisively when it occurs. For more tips you can use to ready your company for a communications catastrophe, see the accompanying guide.
Author bio: David H Lasker is founder and CEO of News Exposure, a digital content solutions company specializing in media research and monitoring. Lasker has over 25 years of experience in the industry and focuses on TV and radio broadcast monitoring, media intelligence, and PR analysis.