What does Toyota, David Letterman, Domino’s Pizza, BP, the Catholic Church and the banking industry have in common? They all had to quickly learn how to effectively handle crisis communications in the age of social media.
Toyota scored high marks for interacting directly with their customers using social media channels during the stuck accelerator, faulty brake systems and rollover crisis. Jim Lentz, president and chief operating officer of Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc., answered questions from consumers directly on Twitter. He didn’t make excuses, he provided valuable information and data and worked hard to engage is audience.
Amidst a crumbling banking industry, in an effort to rebuild the public’s trust, CitiBank launched a blog that features post by CEO Vikram Pandit and other high-level executives – http://new.citi.com/. The title of the blog is: Citi is Changing and You Can Help – The New Citi Blog; and offers all the elements of a ‘good’ social media optimized blog (frequent updates, Twitter link, videos, engaging readers by encouraging user feedback – I could not find a RSS feed link, but I’m pretty sure I’m just not seeing it).
The jury is still out on BP. That’s another blog post!
Here are some Crisis Communication Survival Tips:
1. Plan for a potential crisis. I know that’s easier said than done, but it should be part of your risk management plan.
2. Have your social media assets in place. It takes time to set up all the channels for effective communication, not to mention building a loyal following.
3. Respond early and often – don’t delay, using your social media platforms.
4. Admit any culpability, as much as you can without legal ramifications.
5. Discuss how you are going to make amends.
6. Monitor risk factors and how to reduce risks that exposes you for a future crisis. I.e. learn from your mistakes!
Your jewelry business is not immune to a public relations crisis – be prepared.