How it happened and Why it’s important to have a reputation policy.

My client was getting ugly complaints from all over social media. Not from a troll per se, but from an influencer who only wanted “certain” people to partake in her product giveaway on behalf of our client.

That being said, my agency works diligently at building a solid online presence for our clients. I was proud of the traction and the visibility this brand was getting.

Suddenly, I got THAT urgent phone call.

I had run a giveaway campaign with our trusted influencers and one of them shockingly was spewing hate speech. Anyone that knows social media knows that this is fodder for trolls. It requires immediate attention.

My client was very distraught, their reputation and everything they worked and was in jeopardy. It was not fair, they didn’t know this influencer (who gave them a sterling review) would single out an ethnic group on a Facebook post!!!!

My partner’s first reaction was to put the client at ease while our agency team solved the problem. We put our heads together to brainstorm to turn it around and make a positive outcome to this crisis. Here is what we did.

When you have a reputation crisis to manage, take action ASAP!

  • I dropped everything, developed a plan and swung into action. First, my partners crafted a pointed e-mail stating that our client and its agency were extremely upset at her racial post. My associate asked her to take down her review, cancel the giveaway and delete all social posts relating to the campaign (including the abhorrent message. In short, we wanted all association with our client removed.
  • She pushed back and said she was “free” to post and control her social pages. But, she got so much push-back from readers, she took it down.
  • Then our agency wrote a press release about the incident without naming names to further blunt the incident and to disavow this attitude.
  • An apology statement was written and posted on social media.
  • The blogosphere was alerted and told that our company does not support this behavior.
  • Influencers everywhere ganged up on this blogger and totally respected our client’s initiative. In fact, they wanted to promote the client’s product and give it the love it deserved.

Give respect to get respect

The results were positive. The client gained respect from the community for taking a stand against something that most people disagree with: HATE

What do you need to do if this happens to you?

  • Outline a reputation policy and share it with your employees. If you are unavailable someone will be able to address the issue and put out the fire.
  • Take a stand from the get-go. Do not be afraid to let your followers know what you stand for. If you send a clear message about who you are they are likely to support you over any troll.
  • Build trust in your followers. Build confidence with your customers so they will trust you and stand by you. For example, a disgruntled shopper complained about our client’s services. The problem was addressed swiftly and promptly. But, she was still not happy. She posted her verbose complaints on social media. The client’s fans jumped to their defense.
  • Select your influencers with care. Know who they are and what they believe in. There are many reputable influencers that have been in business for years. They are professional in handling your branding needs.

I felt compelled to write this article to help others see how important it is to have a solid reputation management in place especially in today’s business climate. Let me know if you had to manage a sudden brand crisis.

I’d love to hear your thoughts.