There’s hardly a business that’s operating today that hasn’t had some sort of public relations snafu. While they happen to nearly everyone at some point, it’s important to handle a public relations crisis the right way. Doing so can make the difference between alienating your customers or giving your brand an image boost.
1. Be Responsible
Though it can be tempting to cover up the crisis or act like it never happened, a better tactic is to tackle the issue head-on. Take responsibility and react as soon as possible afterward. Respond to the feedback you receive by acknowledging questions and concerns.
Don’t argue in public. Instead, craft a press release that addresses the situation and share it on your social media sites.
2. Practice These Three Principles
Salvaging your brand’s reputation in the midst of a public relations crisis can seem nearly impossible. The real-time nature of social media means that its reputation can be shattered in a mere instant.
Protect against that occurrence by practicing the three principles of crisis management: proactivity, transparency and accountability. In actionable terms, this means that you should acknowledge the situation, accept responsibility and apologize.
3. Develop a Social Media Plan
Understanding that a social media firestorm could possibly erupt means that you need a strategy to address any issues that can pop up. Even if your business isn’t using social media as a marketing tool doesn’t mean that your customers aren’t checking your accounts to learn about the actions you’re taking. Devise a plan to address the possible fires and review it frequently.
4. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
Being transparent about what is happening — and how your company is addressing it — is vital to tamping down rumors. Even early in the process, be sure to acknowledge that you don’t have all the necessary information yet to make an assessment, but that you’re working on it. Stay away from vague “no comment” answers.
5. Let Your Human Side Show
Remember that everyone you’re dealing with is human. They’ve all made mistakes and will appreciate you letting your humanness show during this time. Don’t be afraid to use emotional words like “saddened” and “disappointed.”
Follow the tips above with concrete policies that address the issue. This assures your customer base that the situation won’t occur again.