When there is conflict or problem at a company or organization, public relations and marketing professionals immediately yell: OH SNAPS, WE HAVE A CRISIS; WE’RE GOING TO BE TRENDING ON SOCIAL MEDIA IN SUCH A NEGATIVE WAY! NOOOOOOO!
However, what some public relations and marketing professionals don’t realize is a crisis can be minimized or avoided if used correctly. After reading an article about crisis communications on prconversations.com, I came up with 5 ways to prevent or minimize a crisis situation:
1) Be sure to already have built a positive relationship with your audience prior to a crisis – By doing this, you could avoid a crisis all together. Your audience is more willing to be forgiving and understanding if you make a mistake once you’ve developed a positive relationship with them.
2) Immediately recognize who you need to target your message to by listening to the concerns of your audience – There are millions of people on Twitter but not everyone is talking about your brand. However, the ones that are, are vital to your success at preventing or minimizing a crisis situation. Be sure to place their concerns as your number one priority.
3) Be SURE to be open to engaging in two-way conversation – Understand that social media is a way to directly communicate with your followers. You can minimize the level of public shame if you communicate with your followers in a timely manner. NOT ALL, but in some cases a simple apology or small compensation can prevent a crisis.
4) Utilize your social media crisis communications plan and if you don’t have one, GET ONE – This limits confusion and an unorganized way of handling a crisis. There is nothing worse than a crisis spiraling from another crisis.
5) MAKE SURE TO UTILIZE YOUR EMPLOYEES – Though your primary concern is to focus on the concerns of your audience, NEVER forget about your internal audience which are your employees. They have more power than you think. They even have the power to prevent a crisis situation.