Planning out your crisis communication is challenging, especially in the age of social media, where everything spreads like wildfire. Fortunately, pr firms San Francisco employ effective strategies to help their clients overcome rumors and fake news. Here’s what you should know about navigating crisis communication in many ways.
Important Aspects of Crisis Communication
When faced with a rumor or bad news, it’s necessary for a company to chalk out a plan of action. Why? Once news breaks out, investors, customers, and stakeholders will have their eyes on the company to see how they respond during tough times. Therefore, companies should be well prepared with strategies to protect their brand image and reputation in the market and industry. They can do so in the following ways:
- Show up with a Crisis Communication Plan
Bad times often come unannounced, so you need to be prepared with a crisis communication plan. This plan show layout out how you intend on addressing unforeseen circumstances, saving time, avoiding confusion, and lessening stress.
Time is a valuable resource, so you should have the right people on speed dial. This should be followed by appropriate responses that are shared via social media. After all, you can’t afford to put your brand’s image at stake; you’ll need it once you’re back on your feet and ready to carry on business as usual.
- A Social Media Crisis
Establish a social media crisis protocol within your PR plan to ensure effective crisis communication. Sit down with your social media teams and look into the appropriateness of future posts. If required, then restrict your social media calendar so that you’re only focusing on messages that talk about the crisis. Use this opportunity to engage with your customers by leaving genuine and empathetic comments. Maintaining composure on all public platforms is important for the brand’s reputation.
Later, you can monitor where your brand was mentioned, how many people commented, the industry trends, and customer emotions.
- A Crisis Response Team
To handle the crisis, the company needs an efficient, professional, and skilled crisis response team. Each member should have their fair share of responsibilities instead of putting the burden on a single person.
When you build a crisis PR team, it’s important that they’re able to give a variety of ideas. You also need differing perspectives on messages, which is why it’s necessary to involve members from different backgrounds. Adopting diversity will make it easier to address the audience’s concerns with understanding and empathy.
Include the CEO of your company, significant stakeholders, upper-level management, public relations, social media team, and legal advisors to ensure the company is going on the right track.
When you have a diverse crisis PR team with varied perspectives, they will bring their own set of valuable opinions to the table. After all, you need to be careful while speaking, as you never know how certain groups misinterpret your messages.
Companies often make the mistake of letting the senior management make and execute decisions, but they should include other representatives for a better communication plan.
- The Right Spokesperson
Who will address the media on behalf of the company? You won’t have time to think about this at the eleventh hour, nor can you afford internal arguments. Just assign one person to become a spokesperson for each channel as this boosts the productivity of your crisis management efforts.
When choosing a spokesperson, make sure they have the following qualities:
- Good Skills
Is your selected spokesperson camera-friendly? Do they have a way with words? Do they remain strong under pressure? If yes, hand over the microphone to them. If you don’t have someone like that on your team, evaluate your team for a capable individual.
- Level of Seniority
In times of a serious crisis, such as a natural disaster or tragic loss, the CEO or equally senior personnel should make a statement. Whether they’re making a statement through a press conference or public meeting, have a member of the team keep track of where they need to make a statement.
- Well Trained
Is the person you’re considering trained to respond to such chaotic situations? The whole world will see how you handle the situation as your company’s image is in deep water. Training matters in this case. Hence, conduct training sessions by professional consultants to ensure that your in-house team is well-prepared.
- Show Empathy to the Affected Individuals
Companies must empathize with the affected individuals to assure them that the management takes the crisis seriously and will help the families in every way possible. This leaves a positive impression among the target audience.
- Genuine Human Interaction
Disable the option of automated response and adopt genuine human interaction to show sincerity. It also shows that you’re not avoiding engaging with your customers and are available to address their concerns.
If your company was at fault, it’s better to accept the mistake and apologize to the public instead of denying the allegations. Moreover, you should make a commitment that the company will change for the better.
- Update Regularly
Your audience trusts you and deserves to stay informed regarding every step you take in such a crisis. Therefore, keep them updated to prevent misinformation from spreading.
- Talk to The Audience
Stay active on social media channels since they’re the best way to interact with your audience. They will want to know your side of the story. Talk to your audience in a respectful manner and give quick responses to show that you’re listening.
- Keep Your Facts Right
Before making a statement, get your facts straight and stay composed. Walk through your crisis procedure and gather the necessary facts to avoid guesswork, as the matter is critical. If you’re not sure about something, don’t say it.
Crisis situations can be difficult to navigate as is, but the lack of a crisis communication plan can lead to further confusion. Follow the above-mentioned tips for an effective plan to communicate with stakeholders, investors, and customers during a crisis situation.