Social media has major impact – delivering increased customer engagement, free publicity, cost-effective public relations, enhanced brand awareness, stronger credibility, thought leadership-building opportunities.
Social media gives you more control over your brand image and reputation – and less.
Previously, when people shared negative opinions or experiences it was with their friends, not you – unless it was so egregious, they felt compelled to call or write you.
Now, if someone is unhappy with your product or service, they post publicly, which is a double-edged sword – the complaint was public, but so is your response.
Your efforts to remediate the problem must be immediate.
How to Prevent Negative Social Media Publicity
How do you leverage the double-edged sword to your benefit?
- Practice transparency – Immediately address and rectify issues or evolving problems, whether it’s a product defect, service flaw, or inappropriate post. By being open and honest, you’ll not only head off any possible criticism, but you’ll also build trust and win your customers’ understanding.
- Encourage customers to post positive experiences - Flood Google with positive stories so these good feelings will rise up in search engine results. Just ask satisfied customers to share positive reviews or say something good on their own social media channels.
- Proactively monitor your platforms - Don’t be caught off guard. Regularly audit your online reputation, tracking how people perceive your brand through negative or positive comments, mentions, shoutouts, or testimonials. Discover if people see issues with your brand, and which social platforms are problematic that you need to focus on.
- Develop loyal customers - You can’t predict or avoid social media controversy, but you can effectively shield your brand from further fallout if your customers are strongly loyal and will continue to support and buy your product.
How to Recover from Negative Social Media Publicity
If you experience a communications crisis, your immediate response will dictate much of the market’s response to you. You can be forthcoming and open or lie and hide as your reputation crumbles.
Focus more on the fix than the problem. Take these steps to repair your reputation.
- Active listening - The worst thing you can do when responding to a negative post is to get defensive and emotional, escalating the situation. The best response is to stay positive, professional, and nonjudgmental, eliciting all the information you can to find a road to remediation. Don’t be afraid to admit a mistake and state how you’re going to rectify it.
- Respond quickly - Don’t let negativity fester and result in long-term damage. By providing a prompt, polite, and professional response, you’re telling your followers that despite the nasty criticism or negative reviews, the brand cares and that you give importance to what customers have to say, whether good or bad.
- Make negative reviews work for you - Learn how social media criticism can help you improve your product. Identify if the negativity actually stems more from your customer service than the product itself. Reach out and remain engaged with unsatisfied customers so you can respond to their issues and regain their trust.
- Adopt social media reputation management - Use this strategy to positively influence social media users’ perception of your brand or product, expand your social reach, and drive lasting customer relationships. By tracking and eventually removing negative social media publicity about your brand, you can rebuild credibility, trust, and reputation.
Brand reputation is heavy, serious issue. If you’re unsure of how to handle this or find yourself in a communications crisis, it may be time to reach out to a professional for help – and don’t just look for someone who’ll rubberstamp your previous – and often unsuccessful strategies.
Trust your brand reputation to communications and public relations experts with years of experience in managing crises in a social-media environment.