By Christina Roman, Intern
So now you’re in Public Relations and you have all the basics down, so what happens when there is a crisis? All companies and public figures are susceptible to a crisis and you, as a PR expert, should know how to handle one. If you’re not prepared, it can lead to even more damage than initially anticipated. Social media is so accessible; a slip up is bound to happen. You can monitor tweets and posts as much as you can but there are things that fall through the cracks. When they do, are you prepared?
A firm should always have someone on social media, preferably a trained employee. Never let an intern, entry level or inexperienced employee be in charge of a social media account. It could lead to terrible things being posted by mistake or under the guise of the company they work for. When a client goes into crisis mode, it can be easy to get lost in the shuffle and madness while trying to get the situation under control. The first thing you should do is identify your crisis team. This should be the best of the best in your firm; these people are ready and waiting to diffuse this situation. When you have people prepared for such a thing the chances of a crisis spinning out of control is minimized. From past instances social media has been used to cause problems, as well as clear the air.
Ideally a PR firm will have their crisis management team draft up a sincere, articulate and short speech acknowledging the problem and then have their social media team spread out the statement. A great way to diffuse a problem is to apologize, apologize, and apologize. It’s a lot easier to just admit that you’re client made a mistake and take the blame. It shows sincerity and recognition that yes, they made a mistake and are doing everything they can to show they care about their audience or consumers and that they are willing to take the necessary steps to fix the problem.
Terrible words and phrases are so easily thrown around now because of the free use of social media. A lot of people hide behind the “Free Speech” argument for their views and don’t care about how other people perceive their words. As a PR expert your job is to take these instances and keep them under control. People don’t forget things quite so easily but in such a fast paced world, they are bound to move on. Keep that in mind, stay collected and know that you did your job the best you could.