Mob mentality: it’s what causes a deadly stampede at a Walmart for a Black Friday sale. It’s also what turns the comment of one annoying troll on a social media site into a major PR incident. Remember two years ago when a PR exec lost her job because of one stupid tweet? We live in an era where the errant comment of one person can be instantly shared and create a tsunami of social media backlash.
What do you do if that tsunami is aimed at you? It can be curtailed. It can be handled. It just has to be responded to in a way that maintains your reputation. Here’s how.
1. Go Pro
If you haven’t already, hire a professional. Ideally, you have a social media strategy worked out with a social media reputation management company. You’ve been proactive, and you know what’s out there. You have a strategy for response.
If not, it is highly recommended that you enlist a professional before responding to an online attack. The wrong reply can make a small situation quickly escalate.
2. Create Your Message
In consultation with your social media reputation management company, determine a reply that fits your brand. It may be appropriate to apologize, but it won’t be a grovel. It may be that you were not in the wrong, but you still want to find a way to correct the situation.
Have a plan for your response.
3. Right any Wrongs
It’s important to not take criticism personally or get hostile in any way, and remedy the situation as best as possible. Look for the underlying complaint or problem, and address that, in keeping with your message and brand. Most legitimate complainers will be easily handled, and grateful that you took the time to offer assistance and reply. The other type, who earn the name “trolls” are often just looking to create trouble. Those are the ones who can really get a mob going because they might not be someone you can make to feel better.
If you are in the right and your message is clear, most of the troll-types will be easily spotted by other consumers and thus ignored.
4. Work to Remove Libel
Anything that is false, slanderous, or otherwise intended to harm your reputation may actually be libel. There are ways you can manage your online reputation that include addressing or removing slanderous or hateful posts, websites, etc.
Enlist the professionals for this step and remove what you can to undercut the mob mentality.
5. Continue to Promote
Regardless of what haters might say or do, continue to promote the good you are doing. Your social media reputation, or your brand reputation, do not need to be destroyed by a vicious mob. You can counter that tide with a torrent of good news. Sometimes the greatest crime against your brand reputation is just not having one. If you promote the things you want visible, you create an image for the public that can counter any negativity they have heard.
Just make sure that what you promote is true. Your PR firm should be included in your strategy. Anything that is too similar to what haters have said, or that seems too unrealistic or “just for PR reasons” will not go over well. You want a clear message that makes your voice heard and your image seen. You want people to know who you are.
We Can Help
When it comes to managing your social media reputation, we are here to help. We will help you navigate those sometimes rough waters and sail smoothly.