Protect your business reputation and avoid a social media crisis with these digital marketing best practices.
With the use of proper digital marketing techniques, social media is a powerful boon for many organizations. Sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube increase traffic to a company website, raise revenue, and build powerful online relationships between customers and a company. According to an October 2013 article in The Huffington Post, 72% of online adults use social networking sites as of May 2013, an immense market that should not be ignored.
However, navigating through the social media landscape has its pitfalls. It is all too easy to diminish the integrity and credibility of a business and create a public relations disaster through a Twitter tweet or Facebook post using the wrong words or image.
In December 2013, for instance, Campbell’s Soup posted a Spaghettio’s tweet that led to a backlash from viewers. This tweet intended to mark the anniversary of Hawaii’s Pearl Harbor during World War II, but it upset followers since they felt the lighthearted, cheery tweet was not respectful of the deaths that occurred during the attack and promoted the company’s brand over the solemn nature of the anniversary.
To protect your brand’s reputation on social media, here are 8 best practices to follow in your digital marketing crisis management:
1) Write specific social media guidelines and distribute them to your digital marketing team and other employees. Your marketing team will be less likely to make accidental errors when they publish online. For other employees with their own social media accounts, knowing these guidelines and using good judgment in what they post online about your company will help to prevent embarrassing mistakes that could spread worldwide.
2) Create a social media crisis management plan in advance. In the event that something posted online sets off negative reactions among viewers, decide ahead of time who will manage the response, when they should act and what they should say in response to online criticism.
3) Use an experienced social media manager, rather than a person who only has basic knowledge of social media websites. Ideally, your social media manager should understand different social media tools, proper online etiquette and the promotion of your company’s brand through digital marketing.
4) Act promptly when a crisis occurs on social media – ideally, within 24 to 48 hours. Since a social media message is global and has the potential to be picked up and spread by news channels, its impact is powerful. A quick response to a social media crisis shows that your organization is alert and cares about its customers as more than just a source of revenue.
5) Delete the offensive tweet or post as soon as possible and apologize immediately. Your social media audience will appreciate a prompt, sincere apology, and they will be more likely to view your company more favorably after the crisis is over.
6) Refrain from closing your social media accounts. Although it is tempting to shut down an online conversation about your company and its mistake, closing your account and refusing to continue the online dialogue creates a negative impression on your readers.
7) Keep an eye on current news events that could impact your social media posts. Fashion online retailer Celeb Boutique created a public relations storm in 2012 when they cited their dress, rather than the Auroro, Colorado shooting tragedy, as the reason #Aurora became popular on Twitter. As a result, they experienced considerable online embarrassment after receiving a series of negative tweets from other Twitter users.
8) Recognize that not everyone will have the same reaction to what you post online. Social media commenters are unpredictable, but by using good taste and tactful behavior for your online material, you’ll minimize negative impressions of your company.
By making good decisions about what you post online and knowing the needs of your audience, your company can build a powerful social media presence. And if social media mistakes should occur, a fast response that shows your sincerity is equally effective.