Social Media are a set of platforms that give everyone an opportunity to get heard, through sharing of information, pictures, voice recordings and videos. Gone are the days were we wait to get news or views of the latest happenings from journalist and media houses. Social Media has empowered the simple carpenter living in the city slum with tools to share information seamlessly without much bureaucracy (official process) of getting his views about any event or discussion out to the public, a system that can be termed citizens reporting. This is a good thing for the ordinary individuals that have always been voiceless, but activities on these social media platforms can ruin an entire authority, leader, company, celebrity or brand etc. Bad news spread like wildfire on these platforms without a manipulative or political way to put a stop to them. This can be seen in various events that have occurred in the past in the country, how a single blog post or rant of ordinary citizens can spread and go viral within a few days, but with the right strategies and plan a social media crisis can be contained and a bad news outbreak when properly handled can be turned into something positive.
Moving forward; every organisation, business, brand or individual in power should have a social media plan and at the heart of this plan there should be a ‘Social Media Reputation Management Plan’. Reputation Management involves a lot of skills and understanding. It sometimes involves the use of social media monitoring tools to listen to people’s opinion about your brand across all social media channels in real time, so as to contain an outburst before it breaks.
These are a few tips for Social Media Damage Control
- Understand the situation before making any official or unofficial statement
- Respond quickly and decisively
- Take responsibility for the situation
- Be honest and transparent
- Don’t be caught in a brawl
- Correct mis-information
- Don’t over-inform
- Remedy the situation creatively (appropriate use of humor is good)
- Begin a program to rebuild the reputation