The fact is that word gets around quickly. This makes it so important to handle what is being said about your brand. Rumors spread fast and it only takes one incident to wreak havoc to your reputation. In this part, we’ll cover how a Public Relations Agency can help you do crisis management.
Online Reputation Management
Online reputation management (ORM) is about regulating your brand’s image online. It’s done by combining SEO and PR efforts in order to improve how people view your brand online.
And it does this by generating positive online content and help it appear on the first page of your SEO results that are helpful, effective and impactful about your brand.
Why Does ORM Matter?
Managing your online reputation is important for a number of reasons. It helps people (prospects) who don’t know anything about you create an idea of who you are through the content you upload online.
This content will affect what others say and think about you. Although you can’t manage what they say afterwards but you are able to control the information that appears and will influence what people has got to say.
As you may know, first impressions are everything whether face to face or online. If your customers can find negative reviews and articles about your company, they are less likely to buy from you.
So if you notice that you have a negative image online or rumors, you would need to deal with them.
Online Reputation Repair
However, repairing your image is a process that takes time and management. Especially when it comes to online attack but all it really takes it perseverance and patience.
1. Check Your Online Profiles and Accounts
It is advisable to check if your online profiles are appropriate and professionally designed for your customers. You can start with checking your profile photo or brand’s logo if it’s rather cut in an awkward manner or placed inappropriately.
What’s also important is the texts you place on those images. Are you titles, captions and messages carefully worded?
Is there any chance that they would be misinterpreted? Lastly, it is often overlooked but the way your brand interacts with your audience must also be professional, polite, resourceful and provides prompt answers.
2. Take Control Of Your Online Reviews
Before purchasing an item, people always go online and read reviews. These reviews are extremely useful for you and marketers as they can learn what their audience thinks about them and help them improve their products.
However, you should still manage what’s being said about your brands as these mentions and reviews have the power to attract or put off potentional clients.
But we don’t mean creating fake reviews either. What you can do is improve your online presence in order to write positive reviews about your brand.
Because having real customers talking about your brand is one of the best PR strategies that you can use without forking out money.
Online Reputation Management Tips To Make Yours Clean
1. Monitor And Get Alerts For Online Mentions
It is important to track people’s comments and opinions of you. And to do that, you can check Google Alerts in order to be well informed and react quickly (if necessary) about a certain posts about your brand or company.
2. Manage Web Contents On The First Pages on SERPs
We’ve mentioned how people search about your products online, and they usually turn to Google for help. So try to check those articles and results that show up by simply typing your brand’s name.
Are those providing the right information? And are they helping you gain more visitors to your website? If not, you might want to optimize these sites.
3. Prepare Backup Plans
Responding quickly to reviews is a must, especially for negative reviews. But, we also need to respond appropriately.
Under no circumstances should your replies make you lose manners and always ask for clarification to the negative comments and reviews done by your customers.
It is also advisable to have a backup plan in order to help you get rid of an issue from time to time.
4. Encourage Positive Reviews
We said encourage, not pay for them. A great PR strategy is to reach out to your happy customers and clients and ask them to write reviews about your brands.
One can do this each they receive a service from your company. And you can add in some mentions, testimonials and tag you in good pics that may help you increase your ratings.
They can help you strengthen your reputation and help bury negative reviews overtime.
5. Learn From Negative Reviews
Instead of worrying about getting a negative review, change your reaction and mindset that it can be actually good for you.
Although this doesn’t work with internet trolls, but negative reviews are a gold mine on information that you can use to improve your business.
The truth of these feedbacks can help you eliminate some problems that you possibly didn’t know about. And sometimes, people look forward how you will manage those bad reviews to see just how reliable you are.
While we may not always be able to avoid a crisis, we can control how we can react and remedy them. Take note, that the crisis has already happened, and the damage has been done. All you can do now is to avoid further damage to your reputation and handle the matter. This is where you need to combine social media, PR and marketing strategies.
Let’s cite an example from the fashion giant’s U.K. website which sold a garment modeled by a black child. Now, they didn’t receive a backlash on the clothing but rather on the words they printed on it stating “Coolest Monkey In The Jungle”.
The fashion giant received plenty of jaw-dropping backlash mainly because it was not only racist but also lacks awareness on the implications of those words.
So this is where those previous steps come in. Always check the content that you post online as you may just have a chaotic issue for your brand.
Now, there are different potential PR crises and some are unavoidable and not under your control. This can be in a form of Human Errors, Technical Problems (Data Usage and Cybersecurity), Natural Disasters, Wrong Accusations, Financial Crisis and more.
Key Crisis Management Plans
This is why crisis prevention is fundamental especially if you want to survive the chaos. So rather than responding slowly to an issue, it’s best to have a crisis prevention plan in hand in order to recover. But first, it’s important to:
1. Assess the damage promptly
Evaluate the current problem or issue. You need to know just how much this has affected your brand. And this is best done as a team since one person might not be able to analyze the full extent of the damage.
2. Get ahead of the crisis and take action soon
After you have assessed the situation, issue an official statement on crisis. Try to provide concrete actions on the steps you are going to do to resolve it.
Although some instances, you may need to compensate and give a refund to your customers.
3. Explain what happened transparently
Whenever you face a crisis, it’s not a good choice to hide too much information as it may just come to light. And worse case scenario is that you have already given a misleading information in the first place.
The technological era that we live nowadays are quite complicated and if there are gaps on the data you provide, they might fill in the gaps for you.
4. Improve Your Emotional Intelligence
It’s a big red no to argue with a client or customer. You should make it clear to customer service that they must never argue with a customer.
Nobody is saying that it’s easy to separate your emotions when dealing with complaints and negative reviews especially when someone is shouting at you. But you don’t want the problem to escalate.
5. Keep Your Communication Concise
If you need to inform the public about the issue, do it swiftly but also appropriately. Be clear with what’s happening and provide enough information so that you don’t provide more confusion or uneasiness.
6. Train Your Team For Crisis Management
It’s not easy to handle a crisis when your team itself wasn’t trained to know what to say or do in one.
Although the procedures may differ depending on the crisis but there are similarities to these incidents. And training your employees could help you feel better and your employees to be well-equipped from causing a bigger commotion with a customer.
7. Investigate All The Options and Find Out What Works For You
As soon as you are informed about the crisis, you need to act quickly. Don’t rush yourself and make decisions without consulting your team of professionals.
Although there won’t be time for thorough investigation but you can definitely make smart choices to remedy the current issue and provide the full story once the crisis is over.
And that’s all we have for online reputation and crisis management. We hope we were able to help you on preparing how to deal with a problem in the future.