A reputation management crisis can hit anyone at any time no matter how big or small they are in the online world. The way it usually goes is that we ticked someone off, did something better than they did, called a bluff or pointed out a lie – and wham! here comes the counterattack. This is the type of thing that happens every single day. What do you do? Do you let it slide or do you take the offensive? Is there a right or wrong way to handle the situation?
Follow these eight steps to Reputation Management in a crisis and you should make out okay.
1. Don’t stoop to their level. Keep your cool, and evaluate the situation. It doesn’t do your image any favors if you start slinging mud back. Stay professional, remain classy. They want you to engage in a name calling contest – don’t do it!
2. Evaluate. How whacked out do they sound? Can you simply ignore it and let their own insane squalling make everyone discount them? Sometimes, you get a demented ranter, and when you do, it is better to let them blow them self out. Everyone can see they are a whack job and there is no profit in engaging lunatics – nothing you say or do will satisfy them. People will not judge you harshly for ignoring a nutcase.
3. Plan. If you do have to respond, do it all in one fell swoop. Decide what your response is, back yourself up, and unleash all your effort on a single mass release – Press Release, social networks, blog, etc. A full frontal assault is the best approach, and the quicker the better. The longer you wait, the more it is going to take to get positive results.
4. Shut up. You’ve calmly said your piece to set the record straight – don’t let yourself be dragged into debate. Again, they want you to engage. If you don’t engage, they usually give up and look for someone that will.
5. Leave it alone! Most problems are quickly forgotten, and you can do some PR to divert attention in the coming weeks. Not every option has to be going to Defcon Four!
6. Use every tool at your disposal to SEO any bad press down the results. Make it a priority from the beginning to dominate for your brand name, and others won’t be able to bump you with smear campaigns. The more prepared you are, the less smears can hurt you.
7. Work to dominate all venues as far as your brand name is concerned – you want to make sure that searches in any format come back to material under your control.
8. Think about the future. learn from past attacks to find out how to protect yourself from future ones. If you are prepared, it will take less time to mobilize if needed.
No one likes being attacked online, but it happens. Prevention is the best medicine, but when a situation arises you weren’t prepared for, mobilize the above steps as needed and start pushing those negative bits of press down. Be logical, be precise and be prepared for anything!