The Facebook crisis: When to respond—and by that we mean, don’t

by | Sep 27, 2018 | Analysis, Public Relations

It’s no secret that social media is rife with controversy, from their own indiscretions to the political fight your neighbors are having for all to see. These days, it seems as if positive news is hard to find from the moment you log on, and no matter how much one person argues, views are rarely changed in a social media debate.

Recently, a client approached us regarding an op-ed that didn’t position them in a positive light, an opinion that we knew was not based on facts but was only fear mongering. This op-ed, which appeared in their local paper, began making the rounds on social media. Residents that were not educated on the topic, nor would you expect them to be given the complex nature of the business, were posting the op-ed forming opinions from an erroneous piece that was clearly not vetted.

To counteract the inaccuracies, we responded with our own op-ed, giving residents correct information to digest, but as social media goes, the narrative was already out there. Then came the question… Do we respond to these people and their posts, giving them the correct facts?

It’s important to remember that in most situations, company leadership is emotionally invested in the organization that they have built from the ground up. It’s no surprise they want to shout from the rooftops anytime someone utters a false word. It’s our job as PR professionals to remind them, when it comes to social media, the bark is much worse than the bite.

The Facebook crisis: When to respond—and by that we mean, don’t

A few things to consider:

Pick your battles

An argument between corporate vs. local resident will never go in the corporation’s favor. So just don’t try.

Find your independent champions

In our case, we were lucky to have a few local residents that work in the industry, willing to go to bat for us. And they did, anywhere and everywhere they could.  If you have champions that aren’t affiliated with your business, let them do the talking; many times they will do it effectively and without the overly emotional defense mechanisms.

Skip the social reply

If it’s imperative to get your message out there, to counteract the bad, consider social ads to deliver the truth.

This too shall pass

Continue to conduct your business in the right way, and that word will spread.

This article originally appeared on the Trevelino/Keller Speakeasy blog; reprinted with permission.

Daily PR Updates

Essential PR industry news, opinion, and analysis delivered to your inbox daily.

Christy Olliff
Christy Olliff is a Vice President with digital public relations and marketing firm Trevelino/Keller, based in Atlanta.

RECENT ARTICLES

Dear Corporate America: Acknowledge, listen and take action

Dear Corporate America: Acknowledge, listen and take action

Today, I wanted to take a PTO day. As a black male in America, it is hard to focus on anything outside of the current state of our country. But I’m glad I didn’t take the day off because I recognize that I have an opportunity to spark change in America. All of us have...

ICYMI: Bulldog’s most popular posts from May

ICYMI: Bulldog’s most popular posts from May

In May, we finally turned a corner in the COVID crisis—although the health risks remain high, businesses finally began to reopen as the economy started its rebound. So it’s no surprise that our leading posts last month offered tips and insights for communicators to...

6 tips for making animated marketing videos that engage customers

6 tips for making animated marketing videos that engage customers

Is it just me, or do the internet and social media sometimes feel like a minefield? Everywhere you turn, there are ads and pieces of content struggling to get people’s attention—and failing in many ways. If you expect to develop a video marketing strategy that...