A rumor, a customer complaint, an inappropriate publication on a social network or even certain behaviors of employees on networks, may be sufficient reason for a company to suffer an online reputation crisis.
It doesn’t matter how hard a brand works its communication plan. For the simple fact that she makes a single mistake, her reputation can be jeopardized. Therefore, any mistake that is made, however insignificant it may seem, must be looked at with a magnifying glass to avoid further damage.
You may have been involved in a brand reputation crisis, and instead of acting calm and putting yourself in the shoes of the other, your emotions and lack of control have played a trick on you.
Next, to prevent the situation from getting even worse, I will tell you how to prevent yourself and what steps to take to emerge victorious from an already-experienced reputation crisis.
Why manage a reputation crisis on time?
If someone posts negative comments on social networks, and this turns out to be an influencer or a user with many followers, or has just managed to viralize their criticism, it can do a lot of damage to a brand.
Therefore, the first few hours are crucial to respond and prevent the message from spreading through the networks.
One case that I remember, due to the impact it had, was one of the Donettes campaigns. Their slogan said ‘To ask, to the subway ’, where a Twitter user launched a tweet expressing his disagreement with the phrase. The tweet finally went viral, and in just a few hours it became the country’s TT, with the hashtag #boicotdonettes. “
Example of action plan in Donettes: Thanks to the speed with which it acted (it took only a few hours to respond), the company was able to resolve the conflict. Even the responsible team was able to turn it around in such a way that they got the Twitter user who viralized the comment to congratulate them on the way they managed the crisis.
How to prevent and face an online reputation crisis
Surely, you have been working your personal brand for many years, creating your corporate identity on solid foundations, and outlining small details day after day to improve your digital visibility … But you just have to make one mistake, to throw away everything you have achieved until now!
To avoid this situation, I recommend that you have an action plan in place to manage a possible reputation crisis and emerge from the storm without scratches.
These are the steps to follow:
Steps to take before the crisis on social networks
All brands ever go through an online reputation crisis. For this reason, it is important that all companies a priori carry out and have an action plan at hand, which tells them what to do in delicate moments like these.
Note: This plan, in addition to encouraging you to respond quickly, will also give you the keys to developing intelligently, empathetically and decisively.
➽ Monitor what is said about your company
The first step is to listen to everything that has been said about your brand on the Internet. For this, there are social network tools for active listening, which will help you identify and monitor the comments of those who speak about your brand is AgoraPulse.
Also, a good practice would be to establish a transparent communication policy, where users for example know where to leave their complaints or suggestions.
➽ Design your own plan
Having a personalized plan is necessary to foresee certain scenarios and prepare possible answers. Specific information on who will be responsible when the crisis arises, what role they will have and what steps to take should be reflected in this plan.
Once we have monitored user comments on the networks, this information will help you outline a strategic plan and set certain factors such as tone of voice.
Tip: Without a doubt, anticipating a crisis will allow you to imagine possible situations, which will make you think about possible responses to different controversial scenarios.
Steps to take during the online reputation crisis
In case your company has been involved in a crisis of online reputation on social networks, it is very important that you follow these certain guidelines.
➽ Establish which people on the team will be responsible for answering
Those who have previously created their plan already know which people on their team will deal with the crisis. So having a plan before you are in a crisis is a time saver. You know that in a crisis, every minute counts.
So when you detect that there is a crisis, the first thing to do is to quickly communicate to the person who will take charge of the situation.
Afterwards, that person must inform his company colleagues how the crisis is evolving. So everyone will be updated on the latest news.
➽ Identify who it is that has encouraged negative comments
After being clear about who will be in charge of the situation, he should identify who it is that has caused the crisis and from what means. In addition to finding out who the user is, you must analyze what has been the reason for their anger, if it is a rumor or if there has been a communication problem between customer and brand.
Depending on what type of user it is (faithful follower, detractor, influencer …) and the reason for dissatisfaction, the person in charge will be able to outline a more correct answer, with the appropriate tone.
➽ Respond immediately and be empathetic
In line with the above, and having assessed the seriousness of the matter and the type of user that has started this crisis, you should know that the faster it is answered, the greater the chances that this post will not go viral.
Tip: Even if you do not know what to respond at that time, the person in charge of dealing with the reputation crisis must transmit calm and show that you will do everything possible to solve the problem.
So I advise you:
- Interact and maintain fluid communication, giving a transparent image.
- Do not insult or threaten and be empathetic (always personalize your messages).
- Follow the company’s communication policy and adapt it to the problem.
- Apologize if you lose your nerve and make another mistake.
- Do not delete any publication or comment.
- Take advantage of mistakes to show your humanity and generate positive comments.
Follow up later and add improvements to the action plan
After solving the crisis, it is key that a follow-up is carried out to assess whether the crisis has affected sales or if the brand image has been damaged. In addition to this analysis, it will be necessary to assess whether the action plan has been effective or if, on the other hand, improvements must be added.
It will be necessary to allow some time to check the data and draw conclusions. This way you will decide whether to make improvements to the company’s communication plan or not.
As you can see, keeping track of what image you transmit and knowing what your business is talking about at all times is important to avoid an online reputation crisis. Something that if not repaired on time and effectively, can seriously damage your online and offline reputation.
If you have not yet been in such a situation, I recommend that you prepare yourself and have a plan or protocol ready to know how to act in the face of possible negative comments. Having a crisis plan of your own will help you to emerge victorious from a crisis in which you can be involved overnight, without waiting for it.
What actions do you consider most important in an action plan to resolve an online reputation crisis on social networks?