Be transparent when talking about a crisis
Consider the following points when responding to a crisis, according to Adele Cehrs, president of Epic PR Group, a public relations firm in Alexandria, VA, that assists corporations with crisis communication:
- Create a command central. Just as a surgical team will gather together to quickly respond to patient’s case, so must your communications team. Gather the appropriate parties, and decide on a response strategy. During the crisis, create a place on your company’s website or blog where you can address issues as quickly as possible via a Q&A document. Provide appropriate information via the company’s Facebook page, Twitter account, and other social media.
- Be as transparent as you can. Be honest about not being able to answer at the time of the crisis, and ensure your key stakeholders that you will provide more information at a later time. Say something. Don’t let your social media audience rule the conversation. Crisis communications is a time when leadership and a straightforward approach are paramount.
- Determine what conversations warrant a response. Not only must you have a place where consumers can ask questions about their concerns, but your PR team should determine which questions will get answered. Look at the negative conversations to see what people are really thinking, then respond accordingly. Develop an online Q&A at a central location on your website to answer consumer as well as media questions related to the crisis that your company is comfortable answering.
- Use both traditional and social media. Don’t forget that traditional media will tune into your social media presence as soon as a crisis breaks to get a sense of what others are feeling at the moment. They will repeat that information and build a story around it. Remember that social media isn’t just another tool. It is an extension of your brand’s story. Be sure you are the one telling it.
- Get ahead of potential issues. Consider developing a website beforehand that can address potential crisis situations with a strategic Q&A, messaging and issue-resolution strategies. When the crisis hits, turn the site on, and you are ready to address the issues at hand, quickly and effectively.
- Adele Cehrs, President, Epic PR Group, Alexandria, VA 22314. Telephone: (703) 299-3404. Email: email@example.com.