Is Your Social Media Team Trained in Reputation Management? It Should Be.
Social media can of course be a brand’s greatest asset and a key way to engage with consumers and potential clients.
But in the event of a crisis it is all too easy for the tables to turn. One wrong response can make the difference between confirming trust or destroying a brand’s credibility and reputation. The smallest of missteps can escalate within seconds, and once it’s viral, the long-term damage is far more difficult to recover from.
Recent examples show just how important crisis management is within social media – and for brands to be prepared for all scenarios.
Just last week, airline easyJet received a barrage of criticism after its response to an image appearing to show a woman sitting in a backless seat onboard an aircraft. While easyJet were quick to reply and showed a willingness to investigate, they publicly asked for the image to be removed – much to the horror of crisis comms experts.
What may have been a small mistake from one individual caused the airline to appear as if they had something to hide – putting the company’s safety reputation at stake.
Debate ensued within the PR industry on best practice in this scenario, but what has come to light is how frequently social media teams demonstrate a lack of issues and crisis management guidelines. On such a wide-reaching platforming, social responses should be treated as any journalist response in this scenario. As such it is essential for social teams to be trained in crisis management and operate a clear escalation process.
Remaining sincere, transparent and informative are the basics rules of crisis management, and in this case easyJet unfortunately broke all three.
Just as brands should approach social content as they would press content due to the mass audience they reach and the scrutiny they can receive, so should influencers.
As influencers are watched so closely, their every move is analysed. One slip of the tongue can be viewed by millions of people with many opinions.
YouTuber Brooke Houts recently sparked fury after publishing footage of herself appearing to hit her dog, suddenly causing her to be branded an animal abuser.
The 20-year-old briefly deactivated her Twitter account and later posted a statement to apologise and explain her actions, which was met with over 81,000 negative responses.
This is a stark reminder of how influencers must see themselves as brands and protect that brand just as any company would with guidance from the experts in reputation management. Consistency is key: you need to prove to followers you are the brand they think you are.
Although social media offers an incredible platform for two-way conversation, those engaging with audiences via these channels need to keep in mind that protecting your brand has never been so important and challenging. The more people you engage with, the more you are vulnerable, so never underestimate the dos and don’ts of crisis management on any form of communication.
By Natalie Garland, Account Manager