Avoid a Social Media Mishap with These 4-Steps
April 10, 2019
Anytime you open yourself up to the media and society as a business, you open yourself up to scrutiny. The dawning of the internet age made it easier to point out a company’s faults and flaws than ever before. The introduction of social media only amplified this ability. While you would hope that your business would maintain a positive spotlight, social media crises are fast to spread. And they greatly impact the way current and potential future customers see your brand.
To stay out of the negative spotlight, therefore, businesses must keep a vigilant eye on social media pages and all that transpires there. Nipping a problem in the bud before it blossoms into a scandal is the main goal. So, what can your business do to avoid social media issues before they start? Here are 4 tips to preventing negativity online.
1. Be Aware: As we mentioned above, being vigilant in monitoring social media is the first step toward avoiding any negativity. You are the first line of defense against a possible scandal, so being aware of what’s being said about your brand is crucial. Follow the comments customers make, read reviews about your brand, and use brand managing software to collect data on hashtags and mentions.
If you see something negative, address it as early as possible. This crosses out the risk of it spreading without your knowledge. When a company gets involved early, you can intervene and potentially cut off a problem before it grows in severity.
2. Create an Organized Policy to Protect Yourself: Before a complaint grows into a massive issue and your company is accused of something, have a plan in place. Having a policy that you can refer to helps communicate to your customers and other social media followers what expectations they should have when doing business. There should also be policies in place to protect your customers from other social media user abuse, should an altercation arise. A policy should be pinned to the top of your social media page and made visible with colored text or images.
Your social media policy might include rules such as, no obscenities, no spam, no soliciting and more. The more policies you have in place, the more order you’ll have online. Being able to show social media followers why something happens the way it does educates your customers and keeps everyone happy.
3. Discourage Aimless Posting During a Problem: While experiencing a social media issue, don’t be careless with posts. You don’t need to discontinue posting altogether, but anything that could be misconstrued as not caring about the situation won’t look good on your brand. Consider how you might feel if you were upset about something, and the person you were accusing continued posting humorous memes and video clips. Of course, as a business the show must go on, but to what degree?
Your business might be fashion, food, computers, or art, but your focus should always be the customer. If consumers are getting a bad vibe because of mismanaged social media pages during a crisis, it could take a turn for the worst. When followers get a bad feeling about a company, they tend to jump ship. This was true after Facebook faced privacy concerns, and when celebrity tweets claimed dislike of the new Snapchat update. Both companies lost users fast and saw changes in stock evaluations.
Focusing on how your customers feel and posting materials which help followers feel comfortable but are still relevant to your brand are key. This depends on how severe your social media crisis is. For small, one user complaints, you needn’t change your posting strategy.
4. Stay Professional, Even When it’s Difficult: It gets hard to stay straight faced and calm when your brand is under attack, especially if more than one person is involved. It’s crucial to the face of your brand to remain professional, despite any insults of accusations coming your way. Remember that consumers who post negatively only have themselves to consider when responding. You have employees, your family, your livelihood, and your brand to think about.
That’s an awful lot of responsibility to have on your shoulders, but don’t get too stressed out about it. You have the support of colleagues, and hopefully, an otherwise flawless reputation to back you up. Before replying to something that makes you feel upset, take some time to think about your response. Write it down and consider how it sounds, what you’d feel as a customer reading that, and whether it reflects your business. If after you’ve calmed down, it still looks like the right thing to say, it probably is. If not, try writing it out again.
When in Doubt – Be Yourself
No business wants to be involved in a scandal or social media issue. Social media platforms even fall under scrutiny from time to time. Take the Facebook Cambridge Analytica scandal for example. What’s important is how you handle it, and that everything is managed with a cool head and a positive outlook. Without customers and social media followers, your brand wouldn’t be successful online. With ecommerce continuing to grow every year, this is an avenue you can’t afford to miss out on.
Take care with your online reputation, and when in doubt, consider hiring a reputation management company. There are professionals out there who would happily sort out any mess you face from an unbiased prospective. They not only manage social media issues, but press releases and other digital media as well.