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Have you ever been at work and made a Big mistake? Your initial instinct may be to hide it, ignore it, or even blame someone else. But, eventually you’ll tell your boss what happened and make a plan so it won’t happen again. The same thing applies to social media and public relations.

Address the Situation
If you’re a business owner, there may come a day when your company receives some negative press. Whatever the issue is, the best thing to do is tackle the crisis head on. Have a plan in place, meet with you team, get your ducks in a row and address the situation with the press. Do not issue a statement that says “No Comment, ” or ignore their phone calls.  I say this time and time again, but I continue to see companies hide from the press. Think about how you feel when you see or read a news story and the company says “no comment” or the reporter says “they never returned our calls.” How does that make you feel about that company? To me, it looks like they are hiding something. When you speak to the media, you will appear to the public as a business owner who confronts the situation and that you are going to fix whatever happened. As long as you have a plan in place and are prepared to speak to the media, you’ll be fine.

Respond, Respond, Respond
So, you have addressed the media, but don’t forget social media. In the social media world, good news travels fast and bad news even faster.  You could have top notch service, an amazing staff, or the best product in the world, but you still have a chance of receiving a negative comment on your social media pages or reviews.  Some may be legit; others not so much. But no matter what, you have to respond. Do not remove the comment, unless it is extremely offensive (take a screen shot of it, in case you need it for later.) I know of some businesses that have removed comments or not responded. Not good! You’re just going to make that person angrier, and many times they will find another way to rant and it could get worse. I’ve worked with clients who immediately responded to the negative comments, had dialogue with the person and everything ended up just fine. And no, they didn’t give anything away or offer a discount. They listened and responded. That’s all.

The Social Influencer
Good press, bad press, reviews etc…social media is a powerful animal. So many people make their decisions on what they’re going to buy, where to eat or what doctor to go to based on what they read on social media and online reviews. How many times have you seen your friends ask for a recommendation on Facebook. Just today I saw one person asking for an electrician and another looking for a photographer and DJ. Will your company be on that list? If you handle the media correctly and maintain an open dialog with your customers on social media you’ll be there.