Here’s How You Can Repair Your Online Reputation After a Crisis

Image courtesy: Matt Chesin

So, for whatever reason, you or your company find yourselves at the centre of a media storm. Perhaps there are allegations, whether legitimate or unproven, or a seemingly innocent comment on social media that has sparked a serious backlash. Whatever the reason, the damage is done, and your public reputation has been seriously harmed. 

It would seem these types of media crises are on the increase with a sensationalist press baying for a story and modern social media users and online commentators easily offended and or highly critical. Even though it might not feel like it at the time, this crisis is very unlikely to cause permanent damage to your online reputation, but rather be a passing but uncomfortable period. You can fix this, and here are the steps you should take: 

 

  • Acknowledge an Issue Needs Addressing

In the case of a press or social media gaffe it is best to acknowledge it and apologise if appropriate.

If however, the matter relates to serious allegations of inappropriate personal, professional or business conduct then make a public statement that the matters will be investigated by the appropriate authorities and the findings will be acted upon.

If there’s one thing that the modern audience values, it is accountability. The days where a professional person, business or brand would repeatedly refuse to acknowledge such serious issues and expect no one to challenge it are no more. 

The first step, then, to mending your online reputation is to be seen to be responding openly and sincerely about the allegations or claims being made

 

 

  • Maintain an Online Presence

Silence is not a good look for a person or company at the centre of a media storm. You might think it makes you look repentant – but ultimately it’s more damning than helping to ease the impact. 

The best kind of strategy to approach when interacting online is to keep your communication up. Don’t go overboard talking to people, but instead maintain the same level of interactions you did before the crisis. You can talk about the issues, but if you do so, be sure to frame it in a positive light – such as the fact that you’re taking steps to improve yourself and your practices. 

 

 

  • Communicate with Stakeholders

If your business has stakeholders, vital allies, third-party benefactors, or anyone you rely on for a resource, you need to get in a room with them and make sure that everyone is still on the same team. Companies and sponsors often publicly renounce people and businesses online who have been involved in scandals, and it’s often because they’re feeling betrayed too. Your priority should be on explaining the situation to them, apologising to them, and making sure everyone agrees on how to move forward. 

 

 

  • Stay Authentic 

Ultimately, if you’re going to repair your personal or business online reputation, you need to be authentic in every part of the process – the apology, the interactions, and the moving forward. 

Nothing damages public reputation even further than a clearly well-prepared statement by the PR department. It looks like you’re trying to pacify people. Be honest about what happened, apologise to people, and make a promise to move forward and to review whatever process led to the issue to start with. 

 

Ultimately, managing your online reputation and repairing it after a crisis can be challenging. Contact Balanced Media to discuss a range of ways we can support you to restore normality to your career or business.

 

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