For many businesses, social media is like a playground; there is no one in charge, vigilante justice reigns supreme and things may swiftly spiral out of control.
When things go wrong, social media can be the bane of any business’ existence and may only make things worse. However, brand protection in times of trouble is key to seeing your brand and reputation through.
Recent reports suggest that around 3.96 billion people use social media, so what you say online has the potential to reach a large number of people. From a brand protection point of view, that can either work in your favour or go against you – which is why careful planning and preparation is key – even when time is of the essence.
We’ve outlined four of our key tips when it comes to brand protection – looking after your most fragile asset: your reputation.
Before anything, it’s important to identify potential weaknesses within your organisation to know what might go wrong. Alongside this, take some time to map out the long and short term impacts these weaknesses. This is a crucial part of your business’ crisis plan.
While identifying weaknesses within your organisation, it’s important to remain open minded and ask your team for input. It’s likely that an employee could mention a weakness you hadn’t thought of, as they’re often working in the ‘frontline’ of your business.
Assess brand reputation
When it comes to your business, being brand aware is incredibly important – and this needs to be consistent at every level of the business, in every department. Your brand’s reputation is an asset, and it should be carefully protected to ensure you remain in control of it. How is your business perceived in the eyes of your stakeholders? (Your employees, customers, investors, the wider public, etc).
Focus your energies
Take another look at the weaknesses you’ve identified and consider how likely these are to happen. Where’s the priority when it comes to brand protection? Focusing your energies on the most likely crisis, and its impact on your company reputation, is key for any successful crisis management plan.
When you understand what could go wrong, and how likely it is to happen, you can begin to develop a strategy to mitigate or prevent the impact of this.
Always have an ear to the ground
The phrase ‘what you don’t know can’t hurt you’ unfortunately, does not apply here. Once you’ve completed your crisis management plan, it’s important to continue to listen to what’s going on around you to maintain brand protection.
Listen to feedback – good or bad – public or private. It may influence your strategy or help you to identify new potential weaknesses you need to plan for.
Your business may not have Instagram or Facebook profiles, but many of your customers do. Having a way within your organisation to keep track of what is being said about your brand online is important, so you know how to respond to certain situations that may arise.
Crisis management plans are completely bespoke to your individual business and its vulnerabilities. Undertaking a full crisis planning process is incredibly important, to ensure you remain proactive (instead of reactive) in times of crisis. This will ensure brand protection and maintain the reputation you’ve worked so hard to create.
If you’d like to understand how you could better prepare for crises in your business, book your free communications review here.
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