January 28, 2020
/ by Sarah Parker
Brands come to PR and comms professionals to help with any number of issues they don't have the expertise or bandwidth to tackle on their own. We'll be covering several of them, starting with the most common: Customer complaints.
This is the time you do want to read the comments.
We are all extremely familiar with customer complaints on social media (and probably even responsible for firing up Twitter to vent about an airline while sitting stuck in an airport somewhere). As PR and comms pros, you're more likely to be putting an overall strategy in place vs. being the person who is actually handling the complaints directly on a day-to-day basis.
If there's an existing crisis communications plan in place for a particular brand you're working with, review that to see if it can be built on or if it needs to be completely scrapped and updated— perhaps because it's so old it doesn't include social media in it at all.
Ideally the social team will have comprehensive monitoring and tracking set up around their brand so they can catch brand mentions early- even if they aren't direct mentions- and react based on the strategy you've helped them develop and put in place.
Some things to consider:
Asos via Twitter
And here's a note on monitoring and tracking: Something like Cision can definitely take the headache out of this, but if a brand has a limited budget you can advise them to set up columns for monitoring in TweetDeck, sign up for the free version of Mention and be sure to turn on alerts for those on desktop and on mobile apps.
A majority of crisis comms situations start on social and/or escalate there, so it's an important part of any overall comms strategy.
Review sites are another place customers go to share what they love about a brand and its products, or what they absolutely hate. They've become important in the decision-making process for a lot of consumers so comms teams often do a lot of work encouraging customers to leave reviews.
That's a great strategy, and you can consider advising a brand to send follow-up emails after purchases asking for reviews and even incentivizing with a coupon code or special sale to those who follow-through. The important thing is never to tell them what to write; they still get the code or discount even if they didn't love your product and are honest abou
What you never want a brand to do is seed fake reviews, whether from customers or employees or anyone else.
That kind of strategy is always revealed by someone involved and it's always more difficult to rework a brand's image and rebuild trust in it than it is to avoid a crisis situation in the first place.
Research also shows that negative reviews can actually be a boost for a brand; all-positive reviews read as fake.
On blogs or other earned media
Brands today need to have an earned media management strategy in place, and it's the comms professional's job to help them establish one.
Start with these questions:
The last question is the most important; with this information, PR and comms pros can prove their value and help the brands they're working with do the same.
If you need help putting an earned media strategy together, let us know!
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