Have you heard the saying “Any publicity is good publicity”.
Oh boy, It turns out that this is wrong, in fact very wrong most of the time.
Companies should always want to be seen in a positive light. Reputation Management is an area of concern to many companies, unfortunately many of them do not put a plan in place to respond when negative news starts it’s roll out.
Sometimes it can be negative press about your company, one of your products or even just about your industry. You may also find that with the opening up of directories to public reviews you may be hit with an individuals bad mouthing your company in Yell, Yahoo or another business listing area. The current most popular way of receiving bad PR is probably via blogs and their comments and believe me this news travels fast.
My recommendations are to respond fast and effectively in these directories, even if it is with an apology and empathy to show how problems can and will be resolved. The worst thing you can do is let it stay and rot. You will be amazed how many of these directories and articles are viewed and how damaging it can be to your business as thousands of people will believe what they see.
As an example of what you believe online, have you ever thought of booking a nice 5* hotel then gone onto a review site only to find the rooms, food and customer service have got a slating from a few guests over the last few months? the chances are that not only does this put you off booking to go there but it will be putting thousands of others off too. So monitor your social media and online presence closely and work fast to follow up to bad press.
These days the Internet means that good or bad news can spread faster than you can catch your breath so plan a couple of times a day to monitor your companies online presence and you will stay on the ball.
If you are in a small organisation you may be able to pick up your defences quickly, if in a larger organisation and looking after your brand or PR then you may have global brand presence and share prices to consider.
You will probably want to post an instant response on your website as a lot of people will head there to see whats going on. Do you know who looks after your website editing and would they be contactable 24 hours a day? Can you create a quick public press release, do you have a PR contact to write and distribute within hours and who would need to approve this? Do you know which senior staff need to be made available for interviews with the press in order to provide the company’s view on whatever event is being reported?
You could of course just forget all this and maybe just shut yourself in a closet, run and hide in a forest or just sit back discussing what to do whilst your company takes a virtual battering. My guess after reading this post is about 20% of you will prepare for future eventualities and begin to monitor your social media and the others will put it to one side while you continue to grow your business online. I know who I’d rather be when the brown stuff hits the fan. Believe me a little preparation goes a long way to protecting your brand and your business reputation.
So why should you respond quickly to bad press online?
Its simple, it could cost you thousands, ruin your brand, your reputation and hand business to competitors on a plate if you don’t. Are you ready to let that happen?