Many companies are wary about joining the social media because they have no idea how to manage negative information and news. A digital crisis can come like a typhoon and most companies are not armed for it. Although it would probably take an entire book to explain how companies can best deal with the digital sphere.
I have summarised 3 most important points here to helping your company manage negative information and feedback.
- Timely : Have a clear internal process on management of a digital crisis within the organisation. Most company have no idea if the PR people or Marketing folks, Corporate Communications, GM or MD should make the decision. Hence have this thought process clearly drawn out. Make the approval and clearance channels as minimal as possible to assure shortest response time. Remember, time is often the deciding factor to all crisis management especially online.
- Transparency : Maintain a policy of transparency. I understand this may be hard for many companies to embrace. But there is NO way one can dictate all the information distributed online. And attempting to do so will only give a bad name. I recommend that all negative comments be taken in positively. Engage active commenting users to gain insight to the issue and credit them for the efforts. Such successful examples include AsiaAir, who transformed negative publicity into loyal customers and a long-memory of good word.
- Consistency : Consistently gather statistics, observe and listen to conversations in order to understand ground sentiments. Digital strategies should be frequently relooked and adjusted accordingly to meet organization’s objectives as well as ground demands and expectations
Lastly, note that a digital strategy for any company is never one person’s work. It requires the like-mindedness and joint effort of every single member of the company. Encourage the culture, not attempt to deminish or control it. However, draft a clear social media guideline for your staff so that certain professsional ethics will still be met and expectations managed.