Public relations is a big part of any business, and understanding how to utilize it carefully is one of the keys to successful business management. It’s important to understand and accept the truth that you want your business to grow. You might not want to take your business to a global level, but you would definitely like to expand a bit.
But the truth is that the more your business grows, the more problems will grow as well, giving you a unique challenge to find answers to issues you didn’t even know were possible. One of the biggest issues that businesses face when they want to scale is problems with public relations. As your business grows, you will be seen more by the public and receive more criticism simply because your popularity is growing.
However, an even bigger problem is that everyone is living online now, and it has become much easier to spread the news about a business. This could be devastating to a business if the news was negative. Therefore, your business should know how to handle a PR issue online, and there is no greater and more popular vehicle to do this than through social media. Here’s how you can use social media to handle PR carefully.
Get ahead of stories and anticipate questions
Business owners have a lot on their plate. Not only are they trying to run a business, take care of their employees and meet their sales metrics, they are also trying to learn all about the newest information that is coming out that could potentially affect their business. In order to be successful and get a grip on PR through social media, the business owner and the PR department have to be even more knowledgeable than the people expressing their views online.
This means that PR has to be ahead of the stories and see where they’re going. They should be asking questions such as, “Where is this story going? What other news and situations is it going to lead to? What questions will they ask?” Using social media itself, PR and management can strategically search for the trending story about their business and see where the information is coming from. They could search for their company on a social media platform and answer questions from conversations online.
Next, it’s always important that a business takes ownership of any situation on social media. The business shouldn’t present itself as avoiding conflict or trying to defend itself by professing to be right in any situation. When a business shows that they are taking responsibility for a situation by declaring to be aware of the subject and searching to find solutions for it, it will make them seem like more of a leader in the industry, and people will not lose their trust in them. There are many businesses that seem to deflect situations and come across as being challenged, but this is not a good idea, especially in the online world. A business should apologize for the news, even if it knows that it’s not true, and set itself up as the group that is going to dissolve any worry and concern.
Know that social media managers are not the PR department
Now, it’s also important that the business knows the difference between the social media management department and the PR department if the two entities exist within the company. If they do exist, the company should allow the departments to work together very closely in the midst of a PR issue, collaborating on ideas. Both parties don’t know that much about the other department, so they should think of creative and responsible ways to handle something in their areas of expertise. If a company only has social media managers, they should be sure that they are trained to handle problems like this that will arise. One wrong post from a mischievous employee can derail the company completely.
Craft a message around the facts
When the company is ready to respond to a situation, the message on social media should be well-crafted in a way that everyone will understand. Anytime you’re writing a message for social media, it’s always better to write it in a way that is easily understandable to any kind of person. The language should be professional, yet understandable to a normal audience that outlines all the facts about the PR problem. Once all the facts are gathered, it’s best to simply navigate through the situation with them and allow them to speak for themselves. Reread the message and get approval from more than one person in the company. Show that you know what you’re talking about with facts.
Because many conversations are done online through social media, a company should be ahead of the news and technology to counter any PR issues. Following these steps, a business can do this and be better off in the long run.