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Every organization is likely to encounter reputational issues with differing degrees of seriousness in the world of social media, but the key to efficient crisis communications is remembering that information is power.
Brands that are able to recover from a crisis with their reputations most intact are the ones who are most prepared for the very worst.
Regardless of your business sector or the size of your organizations, we hope this article will help you get a better understanding of a reputation management, how to prepare for unwanted crises and how to respond when things go wrong!
Shall we start?
Crisis or reputation management is the practice of attempting to shape public perception of a person or organization by influencing online information about that entity.
Brands can decide what type of information they intentionally share online, but there is little control on the conversation and buzz around their products or services.
According to research by Nielson, 53 percent of adults follow particular brands online and 60 percent of users of social networking sites write reviews of products and services.
The rapid growth of social networks in the last few years has determined a power shift from brands to customers, who now have unprecedented freedom to express their views online.
Tackling a crisis, especially in the online environment, where information spreads at the speed of light, has been a massive challenge for organizations.
The companies that have been able to adapt quickly, differentiate facts from rumours in real time, assess the situation and act upon it in a timely manner, are the ones demonstrating excellence in online customer service and reputation management.
Most crises are difficult to anticipate. Fortunately social media monitoring tools, like Brandwatch, help brands remain alert to emerging crisis, allowing them to deal with online crisis management quickly and efficiently.
Social media monitoring makes it easier to keep track of all mentions of your brand, competitors, important news and industry updates in real-time.
Our platform, Brandwatch, helps brands identify possible online crises by alerting them whenever sudden conversation peaks occur, there’s an increase in negative mentions, or something unusual happens.
When monitoring their online reputation, sophisticated organizations will reach far beyond just the mainstream social networks such as Twitter and Facebook. Although there is an unmissable, large volume of conversation on these channels, forums, blogs, review sites or niche social networks are equally important.
Empowering staff to respond to discussion around your company’s particular services means that your customers and prospects receive direct feedback exactly where they want it.
It is equally important to have a plan for both internal and external communication should a crisis hit – outlining the overall strategy, giving clear guidelines in terms of tone of voice and assigning specific responsibilities for each member of the team.
To get you truly prepared, check out out six essentials for crisis management as well.
The best way to deal with reputational issues is to do everything in your power to prevent them from occurring in the first place.
But as that isn’t always achievable, identifying a crisis at an early stage can have a strong influence on the final outcome and your ability to solve it successfully.
To help you achieve that, we have just launched a new feature, Signals, that helps brands deal with hard to predict crises.
With Signals, you receive early warnings on potentially harmful stories before they gain momentum and also discover and act on customer service issues and security threats before they escalate into crises.
Signals constantly analyzes your social data and when it detects significant or unexpected changes, alerts you to it in real-time.
Consequently, you will be the first one to know when there’s a conversation spike in a specific location, a sudden change in sentiment, an emerging new hashtag or a boost in retweets.
When a story is identified, Signals will send you an email giving context around the issue so that you can evaluate the need for escalation and action even when you’re on the move.
Regularly checking the velocity of social coverage is another way of assessing whether an issue is likely to go away quickly or is on the rise. Investigating the authority of the critics – and their reaction compared to your customers or other stakeholders – is one way of assessing the importance of the criticism and deciding on next steps.
One of the key ingredients to a healthy approach towards a crisis is definitely speed of reaction and a clear, honest, transparent answer.
Turning online complaints into a boosted online reputation and some positive publicity has never been easier, actually.
However, to make this work for you, there are a couple of aspects to bear in mind:
An interesting example of impeccable crisis management strategy is Greggs, which did an outstanding job at communicating with their audience on social media after a fake and offensive company logo appeared on Google.
The bakery giant, famous for hot sandwiches, doughnuts and sausage rolls, was inundated with thousands of messages from Twitter users pointing out the error.
Their social media team reacted brilliantly, demonstrating how to turn a PR nightmare into a positive.
Adopting this kind of approached showed Greggs to be a caring, happy and friendly company, which definitely helped negate the damage caused by the fake logo fiasco.
You’ll hopefully never have to deploy crisis management, but if you find yourself in that situation, being equipped with all these insights and knowledge will definitely keep you ahead of the game.
Interested to find out even more? Take a look at our guide for best practices for detecting and responding to a crisis.
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