What to do when someone else is telling your story

By: Kristen Paquet, Account Executive, Leonard & Finco Public Relations

Many of you know that creating quality content is a key element to successfully engage your audience using social media. However, it’s easy to forget that once your audience is engaged with your brand, the type of content on your page will change. Instead of being one-sided, where the brand is putting out all of the content, a truly engaged community will start contributing through comments, links or original posts. Your page evolves and now content has become a mix of what your company creates and posts andwhat others create and post about your company.

Great! This is what you have wanted all along, right? To have people engage with your brand; to start a conversation. For the most part, this experience is positive. But what happens when your company is involved in something not so positive – from an unhappy customer to a true crisis situation? Before you know it, your online community is reacting (and they aren’t holding back), people are commenting on other people’s posts, and your company name is getting a pretty good beating. And this is all happening on your own page. So how do you respond when you aren’t in the content driver’s seat? Here are some quick tips to keep in mind:

  • Put a plan in place to stream line approval processes. If you are with a large company, you don’t want to have to go through four people to get an approval on a response. With social media, you need to be able to appropriately respond and act fast. 
  •  Designate someone who can speak and engage for your brand that’s trusted to be your voice. A crisis is not the time to look around the room to see who is available to deal with the situation. Have someone ready to go. 
  •  Always have a clear focus on your vision and mission. This will help drive level-headed communications about your brand and your story. It will also help from letting things get personal.

Having these three things in your back pocket will go a long way when a negative situation arises and will help bring things to a conclusion sooner. 
What about anyone else? Do you have any good tips to share about dealing with the not-so-good side of community engagement? Please share!