Fighting fire with fire is passé, especially if what’s burning is your brand’s reputation. Facing a PR crisis is something all brands have to go through at some point. Social media at such times can be both a boon, or a curse. Handle the situation and your responses with tact and you could diffuse it far faster and more effectively than any PR piece can. Mishandle it, however, and people will hear about it, and share it, because everyone loves a good “riches-to-rags” story.
A recent experience on crisis management is a case-in-point. As we monitored the social media buzz of a large event in one of South East Asia’s most connected economy, we were prepared for the sky to fall on us! After all, its human nature to think of the worst possible scenario!
A simple complaint about a general public comment by an active netizen snowballed over the weekend with vehement voices joining in. As it snowballed to a couple of hundred comments even after regular updates from the social team, it was time to get the top brass to jump in and resolve. However, the response was no salve to the sentiment of the page which was moving to the negative really fast and the team jostled to make peace with one hand tied behind its back.
1) Act fast. The slow action and multiple level of “bureaucracy” which is common to large organizations do not work on social media. If you are working with an agency, trust them enough to firefight for you as well.
2) Too little, too late just angers folks. Period. There is no two way around this.
3) No brand is big or small on social media. Your digital status is determined by your digital presence (Sure, I am not talking about comparing Coke with a homegrown draught beer brand, but I am sure you get what I mean!). Work on monitoring all of it closely.
4) A bit of paranoia pays in the long run. Well, this one comes from the famous book, Only The Paranoid Survive by Andrew Grove.
The rest as you know, is social media folklore.