Social Media Crisis Management and the T-Word

Jonathan Bernstein crisis communications, crisis management, Crisis Prevention, crisis public relations, Crisis Response, Erik Bernstein, internet crisis management, internet reputation management, Jonathan Bernstein, online crisis management, online reputation management, PR, public relations, reputation management, social media, social media crisis management, social media reputation management Leave a Comment

Deleting legitimate complaints is asking for trouble

Transparency has been king of the buzzwords for a while now, and for good reason – stakeholders like knowing what’s going on, good or bad, with the organizations they care about.

What they don’t like, and has become one of the most egregious offenses once can commit on social media, is dishonesty and deletion. Respected social media expert Ekaterina Walter summed it up in this quote, from a Forbes article:

Certain companies have been guilty of removing posts they didn’t agree with, ignoring those posts, or else claiming that they had been hacked, when they clearly hadn’t. Trying to cover up or remove justified but negative comments can make you look as if you are ignoring a problem or, worse off, don’t care about the customers. It is critical to be honest and upfront about any issues you or your company may be facing. If you made a mistake, admit it, apologize, and do everything in your power to correct it. We are all human and humans make mistakes. Your customers don’t expect you and your teams to be perfect, just transparent and honest. They expect you treat them like family, a part of your tribe, and that means not betraying their trust with back-peddling and cover ups.

Let’s face it, making mistakes is embarrassing, and the natural reaction is to want to cover things up. Problem is, the natural reaction is the wrong one.

You will mitigate far more damage by directly saying, “We messed up badly, we understand you’re upset and we feel horrible about it” than frantically deleting negative Facebook posts as they roll in. This is especially true given the fact that as soon as they realize you’re removing posts, someone out there is bound to start screenshotting and cataloging your bad behavior to share in an article or blog of their own.

Transparency is a buzzword for a reason – it works. Commit to showing stakeholders what you’re really about, through the good times and bad, and you’ll gain advocates for life.

The BCM Blogging Team

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