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What Can I Do To Cope with an Online PR Nightmare?
If you’ve had to weather an online PR crisis with no plan available to deal with it, then you know how important it is to have one. Nowadays when bad news travels so quickly, you truly don’t have the luxury of “getting to it later”. Your brand may already be sinking even before you begin bailing! Dealing with a public relations crisis online takes agility, clear thinking and above all, a plan. Let’s take a look at some of what should be in that plan!
How can I ensure that I can survive an online PR disaster?
Here are a few items to incorporate into a plan to get you through the inevitable errant post, tweet or video.
Have Clear Posting Guidelines - If staff are left to their own devices, very often they can offend without realizing it. Having clearly established posting guidelines for social media and especially YouTube is a wise way to make sure everyone is working off the same page. Of particular importance is what has to happen in the event of a problem, and what to do when this occurs.
Don’t Try To Hide - Attempting to act is if nothing has happened is a strategy all right, but for disaster! Be sure to remove the offending content as quickly as you can, and be sure to not only be on top of it, but to answer intelligently and proactively to the problem. This is the best way to limit harm to your brand.
PR Disaster Code of Conduct - Not only should you not hide from said crisis, but you need to be the very definition of sincerity, and professionalism. Don’t attempt to deflect blame, or fire back at the offended party. Be sure and take ownership of the situation, and respond with civility even though every fiber of your being really wants to sling mud! Also, be sure to not use canned messages in response to this type of problem: All this says is that you’re either not able to deal with it or you simply can’t be bothered!
There are several more examples of what we’re discussing here. Making a plan to deal with a PR crisis shouldn’t be something you’ll “get to later”. Do it, so you’ll have it ready when the need arises!