In 2011, the American Red Cross tweeted, “Ryan found two more 4 bottle packs of Dogfish Head’s Midas Touch beer….when we drink we do it right #gettngslizzerd.”
This is obviously a very embarrassing mistake, but a very easy mistake to make when handling a professional and a personal Twitter account. What makes this mistake unique is that it actually generated good PR. It didn’t necessarily generate good PR because it was funny, but because it was handled very well. The tweet was deleted quickly, but not ignored. The American Red Cross responded, “We’ve deleted the rogue tweet but rest assured the Red Cross is sober and we’ve confiscated the keys.” Followers responded with a positive sentiment and @DogfishBeer participated by encouraging donations with a hashtag, #gettngslizzerd.
During a crisis, people understand bad situations happen to good brands, but how you respond is the true test. Here are some key tactics to address when a PR disaster occurs:
1. Respond Immediately
Response time is crucial. The longer you wait, the more time people have to talk and for things to be blown out of proportion. Always have a crisis plan in action to eliminate lengthy response times. Susan G. Komen waited over 24 hours to respond to their crisis regarding Planned Parenthood, and this made the situation even worse. Don’t respond off the tip of your tongue, but gather your crisis response team and immediately move forward.
2. Be Honest
This seems obvious, but some tend to cave under the media’s pressure. PR had a reputation for “spinning” situations, especially before social media was invented. PR professionals have been taught to be upfront and honest, no matter the circumstance may be. If not, the truth will come out eventually and will only make the situation worse and potentially damage your brand’s reputation. Thankfully, social media is keeping more companies honest.
It is also important to tell everything, because leaving out a “minor” detail is just as bad as lying. Don’t do it. The media will find out and blow your cover as fast as you can snap your fingers.
3. Be Sincere
Be personable and be human. When addressing the crisis, explain why it happened and how you plan to fix it. Companies are not often judged for their mistakes, but judged on how they handle the mistake. Follow through with promises and make it a pivotal learning point for your company or brand.
4. Monitor Online Reputation
Lastly, always monitor your online reputation. Set up Google Alerts, HootSuite and/or TweetDeck and review it at least three times per day. It is essential to know what is being said about your company and by monitoring online conversations, you will get a sense of a crisis boiling. It is also a great way to interact with your clientele and address their needs or concerns.
If you are looking for an online marketing agency to monitor and enhance your online reputation, call Agency Entourage at 214.414.3035.
Tell us about your strategies that have worked well during a crisis situation in the comment box below.