Social media is an indispensable tool for promoting your company, communicating with clients, and keeping abreast of the competition.
Unfortunately, social media’s efficiency at spreading information goes double for negative press, which can turn a minor conflict into a PR crisis.
These are some of the ways that social media can facilitate an online crisis:
- Negative comments. Your company’s Facebook page can be overrun by unhappy customers, and if you don’t have time to address them all publicly, it can look like you’re ignoring them, leading to even more negative comments.
- Public outrage. If your company was complicit in illegal or unethical behavior, then you can expect a backlash from the media. Even if the behavior was legitimately outrageous, don’t expect the punishment to fit the crime.
- Smear campaigns. While some controversies are legitimate, others may be fabricated or misconstrued, and gossip spreads quickly. Many social media users will spread rumors without fact-checking, and may not bother to correct their mistake. Even if a rumor or hoax is debunked eventually, the damage may already be done.
Your reputation is your greatest asset. Protect it at all costs. In the age of social media, you may never get it back.