In the digital era, it’s possible for a crisis to emerge overnight and get blown out of proportions in a matter of hours. This means that your company’s fortune, your reputation and everything you’ve worked so hard to create might be gone in a blink of an eye, that is, unless you’re prepared to act. Knowing what to do and staying level-headed in moments like these is what makes all the difference, and here are five crisis management techniques to help you stay ahead of the curve even when the situation seems desperate.
Prepare ahead of time
The first thing you need to understand is the fact that your business is not perfect (nothing ever is). Therefore, if you know your flaws, you might just figure out what possible controversies, or crises might occur next. This will allow you to become proactive instead of being reactive and set up a contingency plan ahead of time. Of course, this isn’t always possible and there are some things that you’ll never be able to predict. Still, being partially ready is always better than not being ready at all.
Timing your response
Waiting for too long to respond is bad because it makes you look guilty in the eyes of the public even if you’re not. On the other hand, responding prematurely can make you look guilty, as well, seeing as how you’ll give out the impression of being too defensive. Furthermore, if you respond right away, you might still not have the full picture of what is going on, which means that you might miss the main point/issue or fail to address true concerns of your community. This is why it’s so important to find the right balance between the two.
Monitor brand mentions
Finding a reliable crisis management platform will allow you to get real-life feedback through brand mentions. This way, you’ll know exactly what’s going on out there, which should help you make an appropriate response. Sometimes, you may risk spending too much time arguing the issue that your audience doesn’t really care that much about and completely ignoring the heart of the problem. With a diligent brand monitoring, you’ll be able to avoid this quite effectively.
Avoid online arguments
Perhaps the most important piece of advice that you could ever receive on this topic is to avoid getting in heated online arguments, seeing as how there’s literally nothing for you to gain from them and you have so much to lose. You see, by apologizing you may appease some people but you definitely won’t convert anyone by proving them that they’re wrong, especially by doing so in front of a huge audience.
Moreover, some of the people have constructive criticism to share and these people, usually, just want to be heard. Others might just be looking for something to be outraged about and it has nothing to do with you, whatsoever, entering the argument with these people is often referred to as “feeding the trolls”.
Flood the internet with positive content
Finally, you need to understand that a bad review isn’t the end of the world, especially if there are five positive ones right next to it. In other words, you need to start posting positive content and try to ensure that it receives a much better ranking than the negative content. This can be achieved by a more diligent fact-checking, greater quality of writing and posting on blogs with better domain authority. In other words, the best contingency plan for a crisis (especially in the digital environment) is for you to have outstanding content marketing.
As you can see, what we’ve listed above is the combination of proactive and reactive methods which, when combined, make for quite a reliable system. Still, keep in mind that sometimes the damage to your reputation may be simply too great, however, even in these scenarios, doing some damage control can make a difference between salvaging a situation and having to start from scratch. While it may not sound particularly reassuring, it can be quite life-saving. Hope this crisis management steps help you solve your crisis.