Modern consumers have ongoing access to a global network of online reviews, comments and complaints. Sometimes, companies may inadvertently commit a PR Faux Pas, but they can quickly restore their business’ good name through the following four tips.
Always Have a Plan
The time to deal with a PR crisis is before it ever happens. Companies should apply the principles of risk management to create a comprehensive plan that will handle different crisis scenarios. The potential solution may be an aggressive advertising campaign or it may be online SEO techniques designed to redirect search queries to positive sites. Therefore, Business Owners can work with consultants and industry experts to create a basic PR crisis and reputation restoral plan that will outline the steps to be taken during potential scenarios.
Online Content Authority Matters
Many online complainers are disgruntled people who simply take advantage of the Internet’s anonymity to say disparaging things about others. However, companies can ensure that their responses to negative complaints appear higher on the search page ranking results through Google Authorship. This will ensure that any complaints that business owners respond to will appear higher in search results because Google acknowledges them as an original content creator. It may also be helpful to build up a strong Social Media following, which will establish credibility and positive brand awareness.
There are certain techniques business owners can use to respond to and manage negative online complaints and comments. First, online conversations can be monitored through an online program that monitors for negative conversations. For small business owners, they can simply create a Google Alert with their business name and they will receive weekly updates. Business owners can also use Social Media Sites to politely and professionally respond to customer complaints and misunderstandings. Be sure to monitor sites like Glassdoor, which employees often use to post complaints about their company.
Prevention is not only the best medicine, but the best way to reduce PR faux pas. Be sure to train employees not to post personal opinions online. In fact, one of the easiest ways to create a PR controversy is to freely allow employees to access social media sites during work. Be sure to have a member of management designated as the main PR representative. The Public Relations Society of America recommends that PR professionals keep up their PR and communication skills through ongoing education with programs such as a master’s degree in public relations.
As a final point, some companies use a decision tree that outline strategic steps to take when an issue surfaces online or within the media.