We’ve all been in situations where we had to handle fallout. Bad reviews are a dime a dozen these days. Some sites even encourage participants to post bad reviews as a part of a business scam to get them removed. Sad to say, bad reviews are big business. There are times however when we’ve ticked someone off, did something better than they did, called a bluff or pointed out a lie – and wham! here comes the counterattack. What do you do? How do you handle a situation like that and not coming off looking like a jerk?
Follow these eight steps to Reputation Management in a crisis and you‘ll do just fine!
1. Don’t stoop to their level. Maintain your composure. Keep your cool, and evaluate the situation from an objective standpoint rather than an emotional one. It doesn’t do your image any favors if you start slinging mud back and forth – it just looks childish.
2. Evaluate the situation. How whacked out do they sound? Is it plausible to believe no one else taking them seriously? Can you choose to ignore it and let their own insane squalling make everyone discount what they have to say? Sometimes it is better advised to let a storm blow itself out than try to fight it.
3. Plan – and stick to it as much as possible. 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. Think Shock and Awe and then carpet bomb the dickens out of the issue. It is not likely you’ll have to worry about any responses because you will have blasted the issue into the stone age.
4. Shut up – that‘s always an option. You’ve calmly said your piece to set the record straight – don’t let yourself be dragged into debate. The more time you spend debating the issue, the more credence you give it. It gets to a point where you are actually helping create more opportunities to have your image trashed. That all adds up to a load of wasted effort to push it all back down later.
5. Leave it alone! Most problems are quickly forgotten, and you can do some PR to divert attention in the coming weeks. We’re not saying you totally ignore the issue, but if no one else is paying attention to it after a day or two, why should you? The Internet is great at having a long memory, but the people that use it aren’t quite as encyclopedic. Odds are they will move on to the next “big thing” and forget about the previous day.
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. It may take some effort, but so far as the results go, George Takei would sit back and just marvel saying “Oh My!”
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. This is as strong a pre-emptive posture as you can take. You don’t need to react, you just watch the negative hopelessly flail and wither away.
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. nobody likes to think about being attacked. Fewer people like the idea of spending resources to fend off that potential in advance. Many regret not planning however, and that is the point we hope you take from this. Be Prepared!