Eeeek! You’ve made an online blunder. You are now facing an avalanche of negativity across all channels, especially on social media.
If you are an online business, this can be fatal.
So what should your next steps be?
Step 1: Acknowledge It
Ignoring it may have worked for brick and mortar businesses in years past, but this is not the case for today. The first reason is zombies: articles, comments and reviews that can live on the Internet forever. People will forget, physical damage can be covered up, but social media posts last for a lifetime. Just ask American Apparel and Gawker.
Step 2: Respond in Real Time
Start thinking about what actions you need to take – now! The Internet is live and alive, and your response needs to be immediate. You need to safeguard your brand equity online by stopping the negativity, or else it will fester. Having a crisis management strategy beforehand will help. If you do not have one, build one fast.
Step 3: Move PR into the Center
Influencing through messaging is what PR professionals are really good at. Time to get them into the center of your crisis strategy. Give them the reins on messaging. If you do not have a PR professional, work with an agency or a consultant. As they respond, you gain some time to think about how to contain or even turn a situation around. And please, get advice from lawyers, but do not get them to write messages. The legal and terse messaging will look like you are being insincere or hiding something.[bctt tweet=”Influencing through messaging is what #PR pros are really good at” username=”BroadPR”]
Step 4: Think Reverse SEO
Pay for a good SEO expert. Now, more than ever, you need negative comments to not be seen on the top of the first search results page. A good expert can let you know about keywords and search behaviors that you can use to your advantage. More importantly, they can help you to do reverse SEO, where they can help to rank other news items or information higher than negative articles on the search page.
Admittedly, tackling negativity online can be a difficult task. But you need to confront it head on. Take immediate actions and talk with experts. Most importantly learn from it. It may hold valuable lessons for the next time an online blunder is made.