Today's Marketing Tip: Managing a Public Relations Crisis in a Social Media World
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Lee Taylor, Red Rock CommunicationsGood  Afternoon!

Careful - Speed Can Kill You
Managing a Public Relations Crisis in a Social Media World

The speed of news traveling through Social Media outlets these days is frightening.

Just ask Wilmer Flores, shortstop for the Mets.  Last night news that Flores was being traded to the Milwaukee Brewers flew across the internet at supersonic speeds. The news traveled so fast that Flores heard about the trade while he was still playing in the Mets game against San Diego...  even before his coach heard about it. Mets fans gave Flores a standing ovation when they thought they were watching his last time at bat. He cried, thinking he was traded.
Problem was the trade didn’t happen. The news on the net was wrong. The trade wasn’t finalized and didn’t go through. Speed can kill.

This isn’t the first time media got it wrong by jumping the gun too fast. It happened back in 1897 when the New York Herald, which was regarded as one of the top daily newspapers in America, reported Mark Twain, then 61, to be “grievously ill and possibly dying.”  The New York Journal newspaper countered with Mark Twain’s famous denial, “The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated." (There are several variations of the actual quote.)
The bottom line: Realize how fast news can travel today. Think about how to manage a public relations crisis before it happens. Be prepared.

Plan ahead!


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Eventually, every small business will have to deal with a public relations crisis. You will need to react quickly and carefully.  The speed of news traveling through social media can immediately fan the flames of the crisis or douse them out right in the beginning.  Here are Few Tips for Managing a Public Relations Crisis:  1. Have a Plan in Place – Think of things that can go wrong. You will never be able to plan for every situation, but thinking ahead of how you will handle various issues is a good start. Talk over how you will respond with your key employees. Assign a champion to manage the situation.  Review your plans on a regular basis. If a situation does occur, you will have already gone over what to do in you head -- you won’t be creating the plan under stress.  2. Respond Promptly – Respond quickly, but use your head. Consider how your response can be spun negatively by the media. The first 24 hours are critical.  The longer you wait, the worse it looks for your company.   3. Be Honest – If you made a mistake, own up to it. For the most part, people are forgiving. No small business owner is perfect. Tell your customers how you will be correcting the situation.  4. Don’t Delete Negative Posts on Social Media – Leave them up even if they hurt. Deleting negative comments will only make matters worse. Don’t respond emotionally. Don’t argue. Stay calm. You don’t have to respond to every post.    5. Reach Out to Your Loyal Customers – These are your most important people. Explain the situation directly to them and thank them for their past support. This is where your customer e-mail list comes in handy. Take a look at the negative posts on your Facebook page or Twitter account. I’ll bet most of the negative comments are coming from people who haven’t even set foot in your establishment, much less live in your city. Coddle your loyal base.    Have you thought about what could go wrong with your business and how you would respond? Red Rock can help you prepare. Call us today.
Red Rock Communications functions as an outsource marketing department for small-to-mid size companies and as a project-specific Marketing / Product Manager for larger companies.  Why Red Rock?  We are literally a one-stop shop for marketing services. In addition to providing traditional marketing services, we have the internal capability to produce creative materials – collateral, digital media and advertising materials.  Red Rock’s Concept is simple. We believe it’s smarter to use your marketing dollars on programs that will grow your business than it is to spend your funds on supporting the overhead and administrative costs of an in-house marketing staff.  We are there when you need us but invisible when you don’t. Call or e-mail us today!
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