If embarrassing information about your business hits social media or the Internet do you know how to prevent an online scandal and catastrophe?
- Rotten reviews
- Raunchy pictures
- Embarrassing video
- Business secrets exposed
- Unflattering pictures
- True but awful stories
- Name calling
- Financial ruin
If you don’t do anything, your good name and business could become jeopardized. Better to get ahead of the scandal and shape your online message and ruthlessly pound the information regularly on as many platforms as possible.
How to Address Social Media Attacks
Everyone wonders how to address social media attacks. Businesses that are monitoring social media have tried different tacts for dealing with trolls, critics and attacks.
But should the business handle it or should a public relations firm or expert handle it. when these things happen and often the answer is nothing because it’s already out there.
The answer to scandal is prevention. But if you haven’t posted anything and you’re not online with lots of social media and messages DO NOT ANSWER ATTACKS. You will be destroyed and you won’t be heard and you will make it worse. Much worse.
Immediately hire a firm to provide information in the proper channels.
If you respond to someone you don’t know with a retort or angry response, your horrible information could go viral. That person or people or competitor could plaster horrible things about you online everywhere. With the push of a button.
Yes, that’s a scary scenario that you can’t protect yourself from without planning NOW.
Be first and be frequent in your posts. Daily if possible and on as many social media as you can find.
You should have done something a long time ago. Because if you’re just now getting into the game, you can’t make up for lost time or gain ground by posting a zillion things in a day.
First of all, Google, Yahoo, Bing can’t sort it out and you’ll not be put into search results just because you put it up in one day.
The bots need time to find the information. Analyze it for originality and quality and then it goes through a myriad of algorithms for its “right to appear” in search results.
It’s too late to make a statement to the media AFTER any of the above activities have happened.
Well, you can try, but the story is already out there. People hear the worst, first; your answer, second.
Put yourself into a position for a clean and positive public image. Don’t defend yourself or answer the alleged accusations.
Post NOW. Post OFTEN. Have a professional third party post for and about you BEFORE disaster strikes.
Truth vs. What the Story Said
If you know there’s something bad out there that can destroy you, isn’t it better if YOU break the story? Sounds terrible, but if you know someone could and likely will try to ruin you, you’re better off breaking it first.
The best crisis public relations firms will all tell you that you can control the angle of the story. What story will you want told and what angle do you want to come out first? You can control the online drama with constant posts on various topics.
When you tell someone that something bad has happened it’s better you telling the story than TMZ, PEOPLE, Yahoo, or any other gossip or news outlet. It softens the blow when you admit to something vs. being EXPOSED. There’s a big difference.
If you’re a celebrity and you have a secret life, a child out of wedlock, drunk driving or drug addiction that’s going to come out, you’d better fess up before you’re hunted down.
You’ll have time to plan and post and hire the firm that can help shape your message so that you come out looking better than what the Internet will do to you.
Only you can tell the story your way first. And this message cannot be unplanned. Every word, image and video will count.
It may go horribly wrong if you don’t work with someone who’s handled a crisis.
A well-meaning client or friend or fan could out spill your innermost secrets by oversharing.
You can’t hide from the media chaos, so you’d better embrace it and figure out who your representative is going to be.
Prevention is the Only Answer to an Online Crisis
Write personal stories so that people see the real you. Not the ugly you that someone wrote about on a blog that cannot be taken down because Google won’t identify them.
Then, keep writing, keep posting, keep shooting pictures and videos and put your name all over them.
If You Are Accused of Something
An attorney will tell you not to say anything to respond to legal situations. Let’s say that you accidentally divulged information about your publicly traded company to a friend who also happens to be a reporter putting you in the position of an SEC violation. Do you post a video explaining what you did say? NO!
Go to a public relations specialist who has professionally crafted your online message and your talk points and who will consult with you as to how to answer.
Yes, you must answer, but you don’t have to plaster the message anymore than you would have posted on your website. Be constant. Be calm.
When you are faced with answering a media barrage, or even an online review that blasts your business. Have the professional answer it and you must have a third party involved.
You’re too close to the online mess and you’re too emotional. You will make it worse. You’ll be emotional and can definitely say the wrong thing.
NEVER Follow Your Instincts
You should never ever go to the source of the problem and retort or write anything or post something nasty about them.
They WILL destroy you.
Continue to place positive, quality content all over your website, social media and reviews so that when someone Googles you or looks you up on Yahoo they’re going to see the many pages of good things that you’ve achieved, provided and done.
You’ll need to plan now for something that may happen or put you or your business in a bad light.
Because when it comes to the Internet, there is no quick fix outside of a viral video that you post which you alone should never, ever do without a professional.
That is your only protection from horrible things that people can say or put online.
Toe-to-Toe online battles are never the answers to online criticism.
Some of it you can and should ignore. You won’t know a real online threat, you’re too close and too sensitive.
If the source trying to pick a fight with you is a non-threat, you can ignore it.
If the source is a powerful entity, you will have to have someone else handle it for you.
What’s a Business Owner to Do?
The key to keeping your name, business, brand and image out of media trouble is to continuously communicate.
The answer to accusations and problems: a carefully worded message that continues what you’ve already built and established online.
If someone accuses your company of something you need to know whether it needs a response or will a response start a firestorm?
Prevention Costs Less Than Defense
An attorney will tell you to get legal advice and pay for it upfront before getting into hot water and paying more for it down the line in litigation.
The same is true with online defense. Prevention takes a lot of work upfront, but after six to nine months, there is a peace of mind. There is considerable cost and commitment to defense which has to happen quickly and will not and cannot yield overnight or hourly results. But it will help prevent horrible online damage by filling the Internet with your information, first.
You don’t like this answer, but it’s cheaper than last minute panic-stricken attempts to fill the online stories with your story which will be squeezed out. You’ll have to OVER post in order to compete because it’s the first time YOUR story is appearing.
If you have online content already in place it’s like having Google brownie points. The older the content, the better it is for your online history.
History is the Key to Online Story
Having an online history for people to access is important. You’re able to have many pages of Google history to defend yourself and to appear first when people Google you.
If you’re a celebrity, a big brand, even a small law firm, by filling the Internet with information about yourself, you’re able to answer the search when people begin to Google you.
You can control the images of you that appear online by posting lots of pictures of you, your firm, your business, your team.
Oh, yes, the team. While you may be asking your “team” to post to your social media, you’d better make sure that they have the same professional tastes, philosophies that you do so that they aren’t participating in creating the scandal or catastrophe.
Slow and steady wins the online race. No time like the present to work on your online presence.