Wednesday, June 21, 2017
Negative Publicity & Bad Press: Coping as a Small Business
With limited resources, small business owners face the unique challenges of avoiding bad press coverage and handling negative publicity. These challenges can seem daunting, but managing them isn’t as hard as you think.
Preparing ahead of time makes all the difference when limiting bad press. Simple steps can be taken to lower your risk of receiving undesirable media attention. In this day and age social media gives everybody a voice, and even the smallest businesses are likely to receive negative publicity. Learning how to deal with this is critical to your livelihood and longevity.
Fake news. We’ve seen a lot of it lately, and for a small company it can be absolutely devastating. When it comes to bad press coverage, being ahead of the curve is crucial. Having a policy in place for social media usage is key. Training your employees in media relations is necessary. Every employee has a voice that can negatively or positively impact your business.
Be forward thinking. Instead of allowing bad press to occur, generate your own good press. Go into the community and present what your business has to offer. Share the positive and progressive values which you represent.
Word of mouth is also a great resource for small businesses with a limited marketing budget. The idea here is to turn your customers into brand ambassadors who will promote your brand to their networks.
Whoever came up with the saying “There’s no such thing as bad publicity,” probably wasn’t a small business owner. Large firms like Volkswagen or United Airlines have faced a boatload of negative publicity recently. And they’ve been able to bounce back from this with relative ease due to their extensive customer service and marketing budgets. Small companies simply do not have these luxuries, and must use alternative, more cost effective methods to cope with negative publicity.
Used well, social media can be a primary tool for representing your company and responding to customer complaints. Today, over 81% of Americans have a social media presence. This is an over 3x increase from ten years ago, and this huge market can be tapped for little to no cost. Spreading your message through social media content or low-cost paid ads are proactive ways to generate good publicity. However, as a business owner you’re likely to face some sort of backlash online. Knowing how to deal with this is very important.
When it comes to responding to negative publicity on social media, you must learn how to distinguish genuine criticism and complaints from trolls trying to get a reaction. If the issue is not very serious no response is necessary, but that doesn’t mean not responding is the best option. Not responding won’t actively bring negative publicity to your company, but negative comments from customers can spread like a wildfire online. And speaking of fire, you don’t want to start a flame war with a customer. If you’re going to respond be decisive, transparent, and have the customer’s interests in mind first and foremost. Your response to it is a great opportunity to show the world what your company’s really about.
As a business owner, bad press and publicity can be difficult. Being prepared and knowing how to respond is essential in order to avoid a PR nightmare.
For more information about dealing with bad press and negative social media experiences, contact Spotlight Publicity for a free consultation today.
We love your feedback and comments- please share your experiences with positive and negative publicity in the comments below.