Some people say that any publicity is good publicity, but that isn’t quite true. Bad press can completely destroy a brand’s reputation. Look at the Domino’s YouTube Scandal, the BP oil spill, and United Arline’s passenger removal incident for proof. If you’re worried about the same thing happening to your brand, then here are 10 ways to protect it from bad press.
1. Keep Tabs
In order to stay ahead of bad headlines, you need to track every conversation and comment about your brand. That might sound impossible, especially with most businesses struggling to find the time to post, but there are tools out there that can help you.
Trackur, Brands Eye, and Naymz are some of the most popular. If you know what the buzz is, you can tackle bad press before it becomes a nightmare. This is also the best method for fighting copyright infringement.
2. Public vs. Private
When posting, make sure every message is relevant to your brand. Don’t include politics or religion if these fall outside of your realm, for instance. While a large portion of your audience might agree, there’s an entire section that will shy away from your brand and tarnish its name online.
3. Create Policies on Posting
If you have employees or freelancers making posts for you, then they can bring on the bad press without you even knowing. You need formal policy in place that dictates what your staff can and cannot post. Make sure the rules are crystal clear.
4. Plan for Crisis
Excellent PR includes a crisis communication plan. It’s impossible to plan for every bad press disaster, but you can ensure that you and your staff know how to handle it. Plans include guidelines for how to communicate to the public, who can speak on the brand’s behalf, and exactly what not to do following a disaster.
5. Double-Check Your Policies and Location
Is the facility you operate in adhering to ADA compliance? If not, you’re bound to have bad press. The same can be said for poor company policies, a lack of health safety, and how you treat your employees. Ensuring that all of these aspects are up to par is vital.
6. Rake in the Good Reviews
Take the time to ask your customers for reviews detailing the experience they had with your brand. Yelp is an excellent platform for this, but Google reviews and other sites are just as good. It also doesn’t hurt to include a few testimonials on your website.
7. Address Negative Reviews
On the flipside, you also need to address each and every negative review of your brand. Don’t react to them, but use them as opportunities for positive press. Show potential customers and your audience that you care about customer experiences and what to right any wrongs. You should also invite the negative reviewer to interact with your brand again, maybe with a discount as an incentive.
8. Never Stop Communicating
Believe it or not, your audience wants to talk to you. Simply posting isn’t enough. Your brand needs to engage in active conversations. Actively listen to what they say and respond. Answer their questions, too. This build engagement and trust, which are vital at building good press.
9. Get Socially Involved
Taking a step back from online engagement, your brand should also be participating in community-based activities that make a positive difference. Pick something you or your employees are interested in and take action. This also builds good press while giving you more content to post.
10. Think First
Before you say or do anything, think about it. Brands find themselves in hot water when they make decisions without a second thought. You can’t take back what you post online, even if you delete it. Ensure that each decision aligns with your brand’s messaging and the image you want to project.