Social media is as much a blessing as it can be a curse. While it allows us to gain widespread exposure in ways that were never possible before, it also forces our businesses onto a public stage where we may not always want to appear. Before a social media crisis derails your wedding business, make sure you develop an effective strategy for recovery.
One of the most effective ways to combat bad press or a crisis situation is to plan ahead for every possible scenario. Begin by listing all of the things you and your team can anticipate going wrong: bad customer feedback, unusual poor performance, weather-related cancellations, or even a competitor badmouthing your services to undermine your reputation. I know it’s hard to think of these things. It’s uncomfortable to anticipate the worst, but so necessary if you’re going to survive.
Ask trusted colleagues to give you ideas of additional scenarios you might not have considered and how they would handle them. The more you flesh out what can go wrong, the better prepared you can be if something actually happens.
Next, outline how you would respond to each crisis. Keep the scenarios and possible responses in a file that you can pull if you’re ever faced with a similar situation. You’ll have to tweak your approach, but you’ll have a bank of great ideas to draw from when you need them most.
When you do respond, especially to negative customer feedback or competitor badmouthing, try to do it as professionally as possible. This will require that you divorce yourself from some extremely natural emotions, but it never pays to react in the heat of the moment. Taking the high road will ultimately reflect positively on you with the people who matter.
If you’re not sure you can separate the situation from your feelings, ask a trusted team member or colleague to read anything you put in writing before you send or publish it. This should include emails and replies to online reviews – things that never really go away, so you want to look good.
Many situations are best handled in-person or via a phone call to the concerned party. Consider reaching out before becoming embroiled in a social media battle. You may be able to avoid additional public debate by going directly to the source.
Surround Yourself with Wise Counsel
When you experience a real crisis, you need a team to give you professional and emotional support. Establish relationships with attorneys, coaches, accountants, and other advisors, so when you need them, they’ll be a quick phone call away.
Social media has truly revolutionized the way we interact with the world, and in many ways, that has been great for businesses. But it has also increased our exposure, and therefore our risk of unwanted situations and attention. You will be most successful in any situation if you are well-prepared, remain calm, and surround yourself with advisors you can trust.
Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding PR and wedding marketing firm OFD Consulting. Ely is a sought-after speaker, adjunct professor in the field of public relations, and a self-professed royal wedding enthusiast.