SOS: Managing a Marketing Crisis

SOS: Managing a Marketing Crisis

Social media allows your business to put itself out there to engage with your audience, but what do you do when this backfires? Here's how to handle a marketing crisis.

Social media and your online persona gives your business the chance to engage with people on unparalleled levels. However, all companies know that this comes with an element of risk. There are certain steps that you can take to reduce this, but marketing can be a little bit like a minefield at times.

Whether what you thought was a unique and funny campaign misses the mark, or some people are just vocally upset with the service/product they received, managing marketing crises in the right way means you can salvage something from it.

Here are some tips for how to deal with a marketing crisis as it arises:

What You Shouldn’t Do

Don't panic

You can imagine the scene, comments are flooding in and they're not good. Everyone in the office is losing their head and has no idea what they should do first. This is the worst reaction and, although it may be easier said than done, you need to keep calm. Many brands survive marketing faux pas and so can yours if you respond in the right way.

Most of these instances aren't urgent so you don't need to react straight away and you're likely to dig an even bigger hole if you do. Instead call a quick meeting with your marketing specialists and discuss what will be the best course of action.

Don't rush to apologize

It can seem like the easiest thing to do is to apologize, and this should be something you are open to doing, but sorry isn't necessarily the first thing you should say. It's fine to say that you're sorry they had a bad experience or that they were upset by your marketing campaign, but make sure you're clear about what you're apologizing for.

You don't want to make it look as though it was a mistake or your brand will appear incompetent and could even face legal action.

Don't bury your head in the sand

Unless an angry follower is just hurling insults at you, the last thing you want to do is ignore the problem. You need to address it head on and figure out the best way to control the damage or rectify the situation.

What You Should Do

Do engage them in a conversation

Once you have identified how you want to react as a brand, it's important that you respond to the user and try and engage them. It may be that the best thing is for you to invite them to privately message you so you can discuss the matter further, or resolve the problem right there and then.

The best course of action largely depends on the situation. If it's simply someone who is unhappy with the service/product you can apologize for their bad experience and perhaps give them a small discount. This not only acts as compensation and a gesture of goodwill, but also gives them the incentive to shop with you again.

If it's something more serious, then obviously you might need to have a longer conversation with them to resolve the situation as much as possible.

Do consider their pain points

During your interactions, your main goal should be to establish what exactly it is they are upset about. You can only rectify the situation once you know what the problems are so you should go into the conversation with this in mind.

Do hold your hands up

It's important that if you are at fault, you hold your hands up and admit that you've done wrong. Of course, you don't want to be putting your brand in a negative light, but saying that you recognize their pain points and want to do what you can to make it better, will go a long way to improve long-term relations with the person in question.

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