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Online Crisis Management: Preparation, Not Practice-Makes-Perfect
Posted By Amy On December 10, 2008 @ 1:11 pm In Reputation Management,Social Media & SEO | 1 Comment
Just yesterday, while discussing the sad state of the Governor’s Office  in his home state, my husband shared with me a recent tid-bit one of his graduate business professors had shared with the class. The professor, while working with corporations on developing core business principles, asked top execs of major, multi-national corporations, “what is your core business strength?” The worst answer, the professor said, was not “we can’t think of one,” though a sad answer nonetheless. The absolute most disappointing, and slightly frightening answer, was “crisis management.” I laughed. Good preparation and knowledge is one thing, enough experience to call his your “core business strength” is just sad.
As we talked about in two earlier post about online reputation management, Online Reputation Management: 10 Minutes a Day to Monitor Your Company’s Reputation  and Online Reputation Management: A Black Friday Follow-up , most of what you’ll find while monitoring your reputation, even negative items, needs no response at all. In most cases, a response to some negative item will actually make the situation worse. But on those extremely rare occasions, where, like Rod Blagojevich , you or your company is taking center stage online in a light that will harm your career, your business and your reputation, let the search engines help you speak to the public and quickly disseminate an appropriate response. In a true crisis, you have to respond—even when that means admitting mistakes.
But you’re not Rod Blagojevich, and political corruption isn’t the best example of a “crisis” you can relate to, right? You’re a business owner; you market a product or service to consumers or other businesses. What if the crisis was a story the local news was about to run about a flaw in your product or service that could harm your consumers? That’s a crisis you can relate to, and an example most of us are very family with, whether we know it or not.
Consider a typical product recall . Most of us hear about them regularly but try to remember the name of a product or company involved in a recall. My guess is that most of us will be going back to names like Firestone , Aqua Dots , or Sony and its 2006 notebook battery recall . Why? Most product recalls never become a full-blown media crisis because of proper management, including online crisis management. A well-handled crisis rarely becomes front-page news, and even when it does, good strategy can limit the story’s shelf-life and get people focused on something else, fast.
So, what’s your online crisis management plan? Here are a few simple steps and strategies to get you started.
We don’t anticipate crises, they smack us in the face when we least expect it. A good plan will keep your organization from adopting a “the sky is falling” mentality, should a crisis arise.
React Quickly, Communicate Effectively.
With a plan in place, you know where to distribute your crisis response message online, who will do it, and who communicates this message from within the company. Just remember these few things when considering your message.
Bonus Round: Be Proactive.
Some companies or industries, such as fast food or packaged goods, are plagued with rumors that, if they take off, can become a crisis that has to be dealt with—no matter how silly or unfounded. If you find that your business is dealing with situations like this often, and you’re concerned that it could evolve to crisis-level quickly, take a cue from Coca-Cola  and Starbucks . Both have created a proactive platform to dispel myths and rumors about the company and give the public a quick response without lending any credibility to rumors or stories that often get traded online.
The goal of a good online crisis management strategy is to limit the spread of the uncontrolled message. You want a Google search to have your company’s crafted response sitting in the top positions, whether it’s blog posts, press releases, news interviews or social networking pages. These top positions mean that you can communicate with consumers and the public first, diminishing the persuasiveness of overblown or inaccurate information available on the web. You can communicate your response rather than dwelling on the crisis, discuss future plans rather thank past mistakes and show consumers that your company prides itself on being honest, forthcoming and diligent.
Do you have a comment, questions or tip about online crisis management? Take a minute to share with us!
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URL to article: http://www.seoboy.com/online-crisis-management-preparation-not-practice-makes-perfect/
URLs in this post:
 sad state of the Governor’s Office: http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/12/09/a-readers-guide-to-the-blagojevich-complaint/?hp
 Online Reputation Management: 10 Minutes a Day to Monitor Your Company’s Reputation: http://www.seoboy.com/online-reputation-management-10-minutes-a-day-to-monitor-your-companys-reputation/
 Online Reputation Management: A Black Friday Follow-up: http://www.seoboy.com/online-reputation-management-a-black-friday-follow-up/
 Rod Blagojevich: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chi-blagojevich-profiledec10,0,7013879.story
 product recall: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Product_recall
 Firestone: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Product_recall#Instances_of__major_product_recalls
 Aqua Dots: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bindeez
 YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/
 Coca-Cola: http://www.thecoca-colacompany.com/contactus/myths_rumors/index.html
 Starbucks: http://www.starbucks.com/aboutus/rumor.asp
 SEO Myth: You Have To Sell Online to Market Online: http://www.seoboy.com/seo-myth-you-have-to-sell-online-to-market-online/
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