The digital world opens up a plethora of benefits to your brand, but it can also hurt your reputation in seemingly irreparable ways should your brand be the brunt of a crisis. With the internet at your customers’ fingertips, it is easy for social media comments to quickly become viral. Your reputation can quickly be at stake should you make one wrong move in a customer’s eyes. The crisis management tips you thought you mastered could prove to be ineffective at solving your current crisis.
However, when you are actively involved in a crisis, it is important to lean on that same digital network that could be helping to ruin your reputation in the first place. Any business in today’s market should have a crisis management plan in place should its digital brand become affected by a problem.
At one time, ignoring the problem could have worked to push it under the rug for a while. But today’s internet will not allow for ignorance on behalf of a business. Your digital brand could make or break your overall brand, and it is important to reflect your company’s mission through your digital brand.
Here are four crisis management tips to help your digital brand maintain its image during, or recover from, a crisis.
Respond to Your Critics Professionally and in a Timely Manner
One of the most important crisis management tips to defend your digital brand during or after a crisis is to ensure that you are responding to your critics in a timely manner and with the utmost professionalism you can.
During a crisis, your brand is likely to be bashed in ways you did not think possible. Social media opens up new doors for people to share their complaints. As soon as one person shares a complaint, others are likely to follow, even if their particular complaint is in reference to a situation from months or years prior.
It is your responsibility, still, to respond to your critics quickly. You have the opportunity to quell some of the backlash from the crisis by responding to complaints as they come in. You can offer factual information to defend your brand and let your customer know what you are willing to do to fix it.
However, ensure that you are never implying that a customer is wrong or invalid in his complaint. You must handle your responses professionally. Consider creating a crisis management team that can help you in these situations in the future. You can hire people skilled in communicating via social media channels to promptly respond to complaints or concerns in the event of a crisis.
You are, of course, going to disagree with many of the complaints issued against your company. But, it is not wise to express your disagreement or argue with customers in a public platform. Your current and future customers are essentially looking at you to see how your business is handling the current crisis. Make sure they see a calm, cool, and collected team of individuals who genuinely want to help right the company’s wrongdoing.
Be Honest and Transparent
If your digital brand is under attack following a crisis, it can be easy to skirt around the issues to avoid the problem and complaints. But this can be disastrous to your digital brand once your audience catches on.
One of the best management tips to help your digital brand in the midst of a crisis is to be as open and honest as possible with those who care enough to become involved in the situation at hand. Remaining silent on key issues will only cause an increase of distrust among your followers or customers.
Provide your followers with relevant, factual information. Do not be afraid to admit what went wrong. This will lay the foundation for trust in your company. Also, do not remove any social media posts that have negative comments against your company. In the midst of a crisis, it is important to remain unbiased, even when it pertains to your business.
Allow people to say what they need to say to get their points across. You have the opportunity to do the same when you respond professionally to their comments. Removing comments that can damage your digital brand can actually have a more negative impact on your digital brand when your audience begins to lose trust in your business.
Instead, focus your efforts on being honest and transparent, allowing people to voice their opinions on the factual issues, and apologizing for any wrongdoings on behalf of your company. Then, give detailed information on how you plan to fix the issue, not for your company, but for your customers. They want, and have a right, to know what you will do for them.
Help the Press Get Factual Information
The press can be one of the most damaging outlets to your digital brand, but it can also be the most helpful. Not all reporters or media outlets seek to find information that destroys a person or company. Many want to report factual, unbiased information, and they can only do that if they get factual information from several sources.
You are one of the most important sources in providing the information the press needs to create a balanced article about your current crisis. If your audience sees that you are cooperating with the press, this could positively affect your digital brand after a crisis. However, if you are avoiding the press or blaming customers or other businesses for your crisis, this reflects poorly on you, your business, and your digital brand.
Use the power of the press to provide the most factual information you can to be fair to your company and your customers. Be careful to validate the concerns of your customers and explain what you are doing to fix the problem, but also be honest in the shortcomings of your business. This will provide the press with accurate information and gain the trust of your audience.
Value Your Customers and Keep Them in the Loop
Another way to gain the public’s trust when your digital brand is suffering from a crisis is to update the public often. The public wants to know what happened, their questions answered, and how you plan on handling the situation. And they want to know these things as quickly as you know.
Especially when social media is involved, a quick response is the best response. Prepare yourself to handle a crisis within minutes of the news breaking. Your quick response will show your audience that you care and your company is well-equipped to – and fully intends on – correcting the situation before it.
Make sure your customers know their concerns are completely valid. Address some of their concerns quickly and respond to them. They want to know that your company values their business and will work tirelessly to correct the current crisis.
Social media is a great way to keep your customers updated every step of the way. Use this to your advantage to help maintain or repair your digital brand. Customers will see a company that values itself enough to correct a problem and values its customers enough to listen to their complaints, concerns, and questions and works to solve their problems.
Maintaining the integrity of your digital brand in a crisis can be difficult if you do not face the situation prepared. These management tips are the four best ways you can help your digital brand survive a crisis.
Remain professional in the face of your critics, be honest, help the press report factual information, and keep your audience updated frequently. These management tips will instill a sense of trust in your customers for your company and will help your digital brand thrive through and after a crisis.