The prevalence of social media crises due to poor management of content calls for professional help from public relations (PR) practitioners who are poised to have better communication strategies and crisis management.
Before delving into how a PR will manage a crisis when it strikes, one must understand how PR handles social media content that prevents a crisis from even occurring.
PR Agencies Avert Crises
A social media crisis is often an outcome of contentious and tactless messages. The prudent action to take is to commit to an ongoing effort of ensuring that content shared on social media never draws flak.
Such a tricky task is best left to PR agents who have the experience in knowing how to handle content with care. For example, PR agencies will always choose to map out editorial directions and astutely mould the content until its suitability is affirmed, instead of jumping straight into publishing it online without any discernment. This prevents undesirable and unnecessary backlashes and brand recovery before it’s too late.
PR Agencies Turn Crises Around
Not all content, however, is managed by PR professionals, and when mishandled, a crisis will inevitably strike. The situation can then either turn around for the better, or it could exacerbate. PR agencies are trained for the former, and there are several reasons why they are most capable of being successful at it.
Social media content goes viral fast and furiously, especially when it is negative news. As such, there must be a sense of urgency in rectifying the situation for any lapse in response time will inevitably lead to an online wildfire and a further damage to the brand. A PR practitioner understands such adverse implications and is equipped with the skill to respond to a crisis in a timely manner.
While a perception of indifference may be prevented by responding urgently, a full salvation of the situation depends highly on the delicate task of juggling ethics and sincerity in the content used to respond, while being able to also nail the crux of the issue. The example of Tony Fernandes addressing the media after the crash of QZ8501 demonstrates just that:
No company is too big to fail, and PR professionals understand that people will be more willing to trust a company that is honest and dares to own to mistakes with a genuine heart to suggest and execute follow-up actions. Importantly, a PR professional will be able to craft content that addresses the crux of the issue to tackle the problem effectively.
PR ultimately focuses on getting accurate and effective messages across that will build and maintain positive relationships. This is unlike the main concern of marketing or social media agencies, which also do not have expert knowledge and skills in communication.