The growing ease of expression in digital media brings with it different implications in the lives of people and companies. Besides being reasonably simple to launch criticism against a company, there is a great possibility of spreading negative comments by the community. That is why we talk about online crises. Although most companies do not reflect on the possibility of an online crisis, the correct management of these situations is vital for the preservation of the company’s image, credibility and reputation.
MindSEO highlights 15 basic rules for a correct and efficient online crisis management, going through different phases, from the prevention to its resolution.
How to prevent an online crisis
1. Track the main complaint websites, maintaining a high level of response and short response time;
2. Conduct opinion polls periodically and define a monitoring protocol for social networks and other reference portals (who, when, where);
3. Identifyandbringpositive reviews and mentions to channels through interaction with enthusiastic profiles
4. Analyse the content before publishing it, set goals and topics, and check if there are any tools needed to intervene in what might go wrong.
How to be prepared for an online crisis
5. Create a crisis-specific team, assigning tasks to each element;
6. Define what is a crisis for the company and build a management plan for it;
7. Create communication guidelines to communicate online during the crisis, basic publication templates, or answers to frequently asked questions.
How to manage an online crisis
8. Act quickly, issuing an immediate retention response, even without complete data;
9. Respect opinions, without deleting comments, discussing or ignoring people. If possible, seek direct and personal contact with the person/s who raised the problem, and try to resolve the discussion outside the “public” channel. When larger situations arise, MindSEO advises that a simple and objective statement be made, as well as a contact with a specific element of the crisis management team or administration;
10. Communicate internally to prevent the misinformation and spread of rumours;
11. Be transparent, honest and direct. If an error occurred on the part of the company, it must be assumed. To this end, an apology must be made and ensure that everything is being done to fix it;
12. Continuously monitor the reaction to the company’s efforts.
What to put into practice after the online crisis
13. Conduct a briefing session with everyone involved, discussing what worked and what did not;
14. Assess the origin – where, when and how – and the impact of the crisis – the number of lost followers, complaints, reactions and negative feelings;
15. Update the crisis management plan.