How to Manage Online Reputation Crises
The internet has greatly increased a company’s reach, but it also created new problems—online reputation crises. When your brand’s name is at stake, do these things to restore its dignity and possibly enhance your brand image.
Know what people are saying about you. Use a reputation management service to send you alerts whenever someone mentions your brand name somewhere online. For instance, Google Alerts will send you emails whenever it detects a post that contains keywords you provide—use your company or brand name as keywords.
Always check your business’ social media notifications. Check what people say when they share your content—a lot of shares may not be a good thing.
Be In Control
Guard your online and social media accounts. Try not to give others complete access, even if they work for you. They may use these accounts to post defamatory content or forget to switch accounts and write personal posts using your company account.
If you still decide to let other people manage your pages, you must check on them frequently to see their activities. Consider having them undergo reputation management training to handle issues quickly.
Expect that your company will experience reputation problems at some point. Create public relations contingency plans.
If you look back at what your company has experienced or what other companies like yours have encountered, you can get ideas about what to prepare for. Try reading contingency planning books for managers, as these may also contain strategies to prepare for PR disasters.
Continuously update your plans to accommodate new insights and to adapt to changes. Keep your staff informed about these updates and carry out regular training.
At the very least, prepare some general templates that staff can use in responding to people, but make sure these responses are helpful. Instruct them to consult with you whenever they are unsure about something.
The last thing you need to do during a crisis is to make it worse. Keep a clear head and try not to do anything instinctively. Before posting anything, count from one to then, take a deep breath and ask yourself these questions. Is this the right thing to say? Is this the right time to say it? Can I do something else instead?
Address complaints directly. Do not give vague replies that come off as attempts to brush them off. Instead, be specific in your apologies by saying why you understand their reactions and what you will do to make things better for them.
If you don’t know how to best respond yet, give a time frame when they can expect an answer—for instance, within 24 hours, within three days, or so on, and explain why you need this amount of time. This will improve your image because people will know you are not ignoring them and that you want to solve their problems. You can do it by posting to your social media in text format or even better, a video of you posted on your business Tik Tok account.
When someone tarnishes your reputation with fabrications or misunderstandings, you must gather credible data and evidence and present them in the channels where that person has posted. It may be tempting to lash out, but you must remain professional and let the facts speak for themselves.
Try not to put the other person in a bad light, as making someone else look bad may scare people off. Attack the issues and not the persons involved. Don’t ruin other people’s reputations to save your own. Focus on solving the problem, not creating new ones.
Try not to lie to appease people because once they realize you are not being honest, they will trust you even less. Admit whenever you make mistakes, and tell people what you would sincerely do to correct them. Encourage your employees to be sincere; what they do will also reflect on your brand’s image.
However, being too honest is also damaging. You don’t need to tell everyone every dirty detail just to make yourself look credible. Just say whatever is necessary, and make sure you give the correct information.
Managing Online Reputation Is Challenging But Doable
Being visible also carries the risk of being criticized and maligned. It is part of the challenges every business or individual must face when dealing with the public.
No matter how difficult the situation, you must keep in mind that staying the course is key to surviving it. There are many tools at your disposal to help you deal with reputation issues, but to fully utilize them, you must adopt a never-give-up attitude.