Avoiding social media PR disasters comes down to a few important rules you need to follow. First, be honest in your online communications and activities. As Belkin learned, dishonesty will be discovered and does more harm than good.
Second, hire the right people to help you. If you work with a company that provides social media services, make sure you know the specific individuals who will handle your tasks on a daily basis, including their experience and track record as well as how their performance will be managed. Let Chrysler’s social media PR disaster be a warning to you.
Third, create guidelines for your social media team to follow and provide training and feedback so they understand what they can and cannot do. Give them the flexibility they need to be human and build relationships, but don’t drop them in the water without a map and paddle.
Most importantly, monitor your online reputation continually. You need to know what’s being said about both your brand and business, so you can react immediately when it’s necessary to do so. When a social media PR disaster does occur, act quickly and be transparent in your response.
Susan Gunelius: Susan Gunelius is a 20-year marketing veteran and President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She has authored nine books about social media, content marketing, branding, copywriting, and blogging, and she is a marketing columnist for Forbes.com and Entrepreneur.com. Susan speaks about marketing, branding, and social media at events around the world and is often interviewed about marketing topics by television, online, print, and radio media organizations.