Author Archives: Rosica Communications

Social Media and Social Distancing

Effectively focusing on social media during a time of social distancing can be a challenge for many organizations. For starters, employees can’t get together for photos and videos on social media channels. In addition, staffing cuts and reassignments make it difficult to prioritize social content when more critical communiques are needed nonstop.

So, how important is social media at this time and how can it really help you?

4 Key Benefits of Social Media – During and Post Pandemic

Social media is a powerful tool that often is not used to its full capacity, especially in B2B marketing.

Many of your stakeholders are stuck at home and are frustrated, distracted, even struggling. By harnessing the power of social media, you can cost-effectively yield four primary benefits. These are: 1) Maintaining connectivity with stakeholders; 2) Developing organic, authentic content that people want and need; 3) Supporting content marketing through syndication and promotion; and 4) Proactively managing your reputation online.

Maintaining Connectivity with Stakeholders

Staying top of mind with key stakeholders can go far to grow sales, keep existing customers informed, and maintain strong communications with investors. Social media offers your VIPs a steady stream of digestible content, which demonstrates relevance and continuity – especially during challenging times. It can show you care, are listening, and are available to help solve timely problems. At this time your social presence can be more crucial than ever before. While social distancing is likely to persist at some level into the foreseeable future, maintaining your online presence and increasing social media engagement can keep you and your clients connected.

Developing Organic, Authentic Content

Creating content is necessary to continuously develop your company’s social channels. Search engines are programmed to ignore duplicated content, which is why authentic copy is crucial for your business. You want to get on a schedule of when to post organic, authentic, and relevant content on your website, social channels, and in blogs. Not only does this help boost your online visibility, but it benefits your clients or customers by keeping them well-informed and in the loop. It is important to ensure that your content is not overly promotional or commercial and that you are sincerely looking to add value. You want to help others and build a following, not turn them off.

Content Syndication & Promotion

Building and syndicating content allows your company to attract more web traffic and expand your reach. By using a variety of channels and integrating these, along with your marketing messages, you can expand reach, visibility, and brand exposure. This holds true whether you are a person, for-profit, nonprofit, brand, or municipality. As people are generally staying home, this can play to your advantage as your audience is “captive.”

Be aware of your company’s strengths and submit guest articles to relevant industry publications to draw more attention, LinkedIn engagement, and website traffic. Any time your company is mentioned in an article or news site, summarize it, use industry key phrases, post it on your website, and share it across your social media channels. This draws attention to your business while also developing connection between industry platforms and your site.

Managing Your Reputation Online

Your social media accounts help “control” your business’ narrative and perception among key stakeholders. Managing your social media presence by responding to comments and interacting on your followers’ posts can help maintain a connection between your organization and its target audiences. The lines of communication you establish with customers through online platforms shows who you are as a brand, which, in turn, can create a stronger or more positive reputation online.

Your organization’s reputation online is increasingly important as most people/companies search online before purchasing products or services. While people are isolating, a reputation online is even more vital to maintaining your reputation and brand integrity; it can ensure that your messaging and image are effectively being managed.

These social connections are essential to keeping and increasing customer loyalty. Interacting with your customers on your posts keeps driving relationships.

People look for communication during uncertain times; by continuously doing this, you are staying top-of-mind while also giving them something to consider while they are at home working, hanging with their kids, or watching a show on Netflix.

A strong social media presence is important in this time of social distancing. It can go far to increase engagement among stakeholders, grow your content marketing, and manage your reputation.

To receive a sneak peek of Chris Rosica’s forthcoming book, The Power of B2B Social Media – The Marketing Strategy You Can’t Afford to Ignore, email PR@rosica.com with “Sneak Peek” in the subject line.

National Society for High School Scholars Makes National News

Rosica Communications helped the National Society of High School Scholars (NSHSS) make national news with an in-depth article in Newsweek. National Society of High School Scholars is a distinguished academic honor society, committed to recognizing and serving high achieving student scholars in more than 26,000 high schools across 170 countries.

The article reported on findings from a new national survey that NSHSS conducted among more than 2,000 high school students. Among other information, the article discusses the implications online only schooling could have on many college campuses next year, with 32% of incoming college freshman saying they would defer admission to next year. NSHSS President James Lewis, talks about his belief that students will continue to attend these institutions despite the online schooling and continue pursuing their college education to earn a degree.

According to the NSHSS survey, over 94% of respondents surveyed are pretty hopeful or very hopeful that they will achieve a college education, which is most important to the students and college administration. Students will to adapt to the new e-learning style even if it is not their preference for learning. However, according to the survey, 53% of students surveyed prefer in-person classes but could deal given the circumstances. This speaks volumes. The students understand that online learning is less than ideal but will adjust and continue to accel in their education.

In the article, Lewis is quoted, “I think that students will adapt, and institutions will get better at delivering the college experience in a virtual way,” Lewis told Newsweek. “Students may complain about the things they are missing, but I am confident that they will make the best of the situation.”

To view the entire story click here https://www.newsweek.com/32-percent-students-say-they-wont-go-college-next-year-if-classes-are-online-only-1503248

Celebrating Florence Nightingale’s Legacy – Never More Important than Today

Two hundred years ago, Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing, was born. She was a visionary in leadership and nursing throughout her career. Nightingale contributed to modern nursing, including teaching others, being an advocate for nurses, and being a leader, along with recognizing the need for data and science. Due to this, the World Health Assembly has designated 2020 the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife.

Agency President, Chris Rosica, celebrates nurses and Florence Nightingale’s 200th birthday by being an advocate for them. Nurses and other healthcare professionals are working tirelessly to keep patients healthy and continue to bring innovation and leadership to the industry.

Recognition for the nursing community is essential, especially during this critical time. Rosica Communications has stepped in to help allnurses.com acknowledge and support nurses everywhere with the social media campaign #GiveANurseAHug, to show the impact they have on lives day in and day out.

Rosica is proud to partner with organizations that are supporting nurses during the Coronavirus Pandemic and those who continuously support and recognize nurses throughout the year including allnurses.com, Healing Hands Scrubs, and Exergen. The work these companies are doing is crucial in supporting nurses during the COVID-19 pandemic and throughout the remainder of the year.

To view the entire story click here https://allnurses.com/recognizing-nurses-must-become-year-round-t719829/?utm_content=sitenotifications&utm_campaign=website&utm_source=email&utm_medium=email

Exergen Celebrates 40 Years, with Herculean response to COVID-19

Exergen Corporation

Important events of 1980:

  • Ted Turner establishes CNN.
  • Mount St. Helens erupts.
  • Pac-Man video game is released.
  • S. rescue attempt to save hostages in Tehran fails.
  • RK & R Public Relations (now Rosica Communications) launches.
  • Rubik’s Cube debuts at the International Toy Fair for global release.
  • Exergen Corporation opens its doors.

It is with great pleasure and gratitude that the Rosica team acknowledges and congratulates Exergen for 40 years of innovation, scientific advancement, and success. We thank you for our 13-year client/agency partnership.

Drs. Frank and Marybeth Pompei are committed to the nursing community and to healthcare professionals everywhere. It is essential to their company’s mission.

The duo has dedicated their lives to advancing science through noninvasive thermometry; they support scientific research and offer professional development to nurses across the US.

Exergen manufactures two principal TemporalScanner thermometers – a professional version for hospitals and physicians’ offices, and a consumer model, which is sold through all major retailers. Exergen’s accuracy is supported by more than 80 peer-reviewed published studies covering all ages from preterm infants to geriatrics and all areas of care, from hospitals to homes. In fact, more than two billion temperatures are taken each year with TemporalScanners.

Temperature being a determining factor of COVID-19, Exergen is providing thousands of much needed thermometers to front line healthcare professionals (HCPs). These help protect patients and HCPs alike.

We are honored to acknowledge Exergen for their tireless work during the pandemic and for the company’s 40th birthday. This is quite an accomplishment and an important legacy.

Rosica says #GiveANursesAHug!

#GiveANurseAHug

Can you think of anything better to do than #GiveANurseAHug on the 200th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birthday. As you probably know, Nightingale was the founder of modern nursing, and like most nurses, she was an amazing human being.

Rosica is working with allnurses.com, the largest nursing community on the planet, with more than one million members, to promote the #GiveANurseAHug campaign. It’s designed to help show love and gratitude to the nurses who touch our lives and those of others in our communities, simply by giving a virtual hug. The virtual or air hugs recognize the courageous work nurses do, too often now under life-threatening conditions.

Best, of all, it’s easy to do. Simply post on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, a picture of you – along with your family and friends, if you like – giving a Virtual Hug. Please be sure that when share your virtual hug, you tag @allnurses and use the hashtag #GiveANurseAHug.

Rosica, a healthcare PR agency, is urging healthcare organizations, colleges and universities, corporations, associations, and individuals – anyone who cares about nurses – to spread the news and celebrate the nearly four million nurses working in the U.S. today. We have already partnered amazing organizations to embrace the virtual campaign, such as Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, Montclair State University, Emergency Nurses Association (ENA), (201) Health Magazine, Home Care & Hospice Association of New Jersey, NADONA (National Association of Directors of Nursing Administration), and IACRN (International Association of Clinical Research Nurses).

In concert with these partners, allnurses.com, the Rosica PR agency team and our combined social media efforts, we ask that you join us by taking a photo (virtually) hugging a nurse and share it socially. Please be sure to tag @allnurses and use the hashtag #GiveANurseAHug. This will go far to show appreciation, admiration, support, and respect.

Here at Rosica Communications we are grateful for nurses and all healthcare professionals and hope that you’ll join us in saying “thanks.”

Authentic Communications: Rethinking What We Say During the Pandemic

The past few weeks have created quite a disruption, but far and away the question we’ve been asked the most is: “Should I still be sending regular communications out to my key stakeholders?”  

The answer is “yes,” but with a caveat. This means you absolutely can and should communicate with your various audiences, but what you say, how, when, and how often you say it must be considered through an entirely different lens than that of just a few weeks ago. This applies to internal audiences, who need an up-to-the-minute understanding of what’s expected of them, and external audiences, who can and should be reminded of your presence, actions, offerings, contribution, and encouraging thoughts 

During this time of uncertainty, you can’t afford to go dark with anyone who matters to your business, whether employeescustomers, investors, supporters, patients, or other stakeholders. Now, though, you must talk with them on a new timetable and in a much more direct, yet nuanced, voice 

Far and away, the best thing to do throughout is to ask yourself: How do I want people to communicate with me during this challenging time? One way to approach this is to think in terms of three areas: 1) Content 2) Context, and 3) Timing 

1.Content: Would you want to read it? 

A colleague mentioned how annoyed he was that so many companies were incorporating coronavirus messaging into their email marketing campaigns yet offered nothing helpful or relevant. The next time you consider sending an inappropriate email to a prospective or existing client, think twice 

The best litmus test for your CRM and other communiques is the mirror. Before you send something out, ask yourself if it would benefit you if you were on the receiving end. Would you find it helpful and relevant, or just a waste of your time? Is it authentic or does it smack of opportunism? Does it contain information so useful that you would actually want to share it with someone? If you can answer yes to most or all of those questions, send it. 

Sometimes the most useful content is something that is counterintuitive to what you might normally expect to receive. For example, inspirational quotes can be helpful in times of crisis and stressA genuine, shared sentiment from one professional to another is authenticNow is the time to reflect and reach out with genuine concern and an attitude of service.    

2.Context: We all know we’re in a coronavirus pandemic! 

How many emails have you gotten in the past week that started with something like, “Coronavirus, the deadly international pandemic, has recently brought business to a halt …” or, “In this time of unprecedented disruption caused by the deadly COVID-19 virus…”  

If your answer is “too many!” you’re not alone! We all know what happened, so there’s no need to start every email with it. Rather, begin with something that is relevant to the readerFor example, a computer networking company might start with: “Best tech tools for working at home during the pandemic.” Or, if you are a nonprofit, consider an approach like this: “4 Ways to Make an Impact and Help Others During the COVID-19 Crisis.” This is useful information that may help people and organizations during this difficult time.   

As we recently shared in an article on internal crisis communications on O’Dwyer’s, first and foremost employees need to know where they stand–every single day. Be clear and consistent, and above all else don’t keep them guessing. It all comes back to what you would want to experience. The same holds true with such key stakeholders as customers, students, supporters, investors, patients, and distributors. Just because in-person meetings and travel have halted doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t keep communications strong 

Over the past few weeks, how many conference calls and meetings have begun by talking about the bad news? Too many. Start by saying you hope everyone is doing okay, and that you’d like to start with the business agenda and hold off any conversation about coronavirus until the end of the meeting. Otherwise, you stand to spend the first 10-15 minutes not focusing on why you are all there in the first place.   

3.Timing: Be timely, or better yet, get there ahead of time. 

These days, with sheltering in place, time moves to its own strange beatit’s easy to forget whether it’s Tuesday or Thursday and if a call is at 2PM or 4PM. Days blur and what was true an hour ago can already have been replaced by new information–or misinformation. If you want to build a positive, productive relationship with your audience, communicate with them in real time, and look ahead, not back. What happened yesterday can seem like week ago, and no one wants to dwell on the past in this new reality. They want hope. 

As with any unexpected situation or crisis, if you look closely enough, you’ll find ways to be of service. You’ll unearth viable avenues to be an integral part of the conversationand the solution. Now, with weekdays blurring into weekends, we are no longer bound by when is a “good time” to send a social post or email campaign. The same thing applies to PR. Previously, our experience demonstrated that the best time to send a news release or distribute it on the wire was first thing in the morning on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday. Over the past two weeks, we’ve gotten unprecedented pickup in late afternoons and on weekends. This is due to the fact that we are presently on a 24/7/365 news cycle.  

It is impossible to predict the future, even what will happen in the coming weeks, but to remain relevant, it’s critical to plan and execute strategic communications. Now more than ever, timelines should be developed and adhered toTiming has been altered, but you can still create a comms. roadmap of where you are and where you want to go 

If your organization needs help with crisis communications, PR, issues managementor COVID-19 communications strategy, contact Chris Rosica at PR@rosica.com or call (201) 806-6543 x 202. 

Internal Coronavirus Communication Strategies

Given the new business reality, agency President Chris Rosica outlines 7 Essential Internal Communication Strategies for dealing with the coronavirus crisis.  

His seven internal comms. imperatives include: 

  1. Internal Communications First Communicate with your team frequently and proactively.  
  2. Lead With Candor  In times of crisis, as with COVID-19, leaders and managers must be forthcoming and foster an environment of open communication.  
  3. Embrace  &  Communicate a “Never Give Up” AttitudePerseverance is required to maintain team spirit. This spirit can make or break a company, institution, or nonprofit. Make “never give up” your mantra. 
  4. Encourage Innovation Now is the time to reward creativity and encourage managers and staff to create new business opportunities. Your top people will align with this call to action.  
  5. Now’s the Time To Bolster Technology – The new work-from-home ecosystem warrants organizations do all they can to ensure connectivity and productivity. 
  6. Avoid Micromanaging, But Be Sure To Manage  Have managers connect with employees daily or even multiple times each day. Understand their challenges, where they need training and support, and how you can best support the team. 
  7. Adjust Internal Comms as RequiredTweak internal communications to ensure you remain relevant, supportive, and of optimal service to your customers.  

Not only do these practices help your staffbut maximize your chances of success.  

To read the entire article on O’Dwyer’s, please visit 7 Essential Internal Coronavirus Communications Practices.

Washington Examiner Shares Chris Rosica’s View on Storytelling in Times of Crisis

In yesterday’s Washington Examiner, COVID-19 crisis communications expert Chris Rosica was asked to comment on Dr. Deborah Birx’s story delivered at the White House’s daily coronavirus briefing. Dr. Birx shared her grandmother’s heart-wrenching story and a plea not to be the person who introduces the virus to a vulnerable person. According to Washington Examiner reporter Rob Crilly, Dr. Birx said, in reference to the Spanish flu epidemic, that her “grandmother Leah lived with a lifetime of guilt after bringing flu home from school, she said.”  

In the article, Crilly states: “Chris Rosica, a crisis communications expert, said storytelling made people tune in, remember the message, and, most importantly, share it. Birx, he said, had a powerful ability to connect with her audience.” Rosica added, “When it comes to storytelling, personal stories are often the most effective ways to communicateThey not only suck people in, but there’s also an emotional element beyond the facts and the science.” 

 

To view the entire story click here https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/immunologist-mother-granddaughter-how-dr-deborah-birx-is-humanizing-the-coronavirus-pandemic. 

Best Practices for Coronavirus Communications & Preparedness  – By Chris Rosica

On March 11, 2020, the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) officially reached pandemic status, which, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), means the “worldwide spread of a new disease.”

Regardless of whether you are a school, nonprofit, Integrated Delivery Network (IDN), corporation, transportation provider, municipality, NGO, or other entity, it is vital to know the facts and communicate proactively with all stakeholders-using clear, compassionate, and understandable messages. This not only demonstrates leadership but reduces everyone’s stress levels and instills trust among key stakeholders.

In times of crisis, you must prepare operationally. At the same time, you must prepare to effectively communicate as well. These fundamentals will guide you in successfully planning and communicating during this time of heightened public concern:

  1. Swiftly Establish Operational Protocols & Procedures

The first step is to create a Coronavirus Crisis Team. This should consist of such senior executives as CEO, SVP of HR, SVP of Communications, COO, CMO, CFO, CTO, CISO, GM, and department heads (e.g., sales, facilities, supply chain, etc.). This team should meet and establish strategic imperatives, communication protocols, and a meeting rhythm.

For many organizations, the bulk of the work required centers on establishing business continuity and human resource policies for coronavirus. For others that serve the public, the focus should be public safety, policy, and clear, thorough communications.

There is a great deal to determine from an organizational perspective. Depending on your organizational structure, your Crisis Team will want to discuss and agree on such policies and systems as:

  • Continuity – This is the most critical piece as the livelihood of workers depends on the livelihood of the organization. Proper planning ensures you’ll be able to serve your students, patients, constituents, customers, consumers, and other stakeholders—even if you cannot open your facility, company, store, school, restaurant, or operation’s doors. This means getting creative and using the Internet to promote internal collaboration and better serve your publics. If appropriate, telemedicine, at-home instruction, and home-delivery options should be explored and implemented. In this time of adaptation, it’s imperative to make sure your people understand their roles and your expectations in the new service/product delivery structure.
  • Creating a Safer Workplace – If an employee has symptoms such as cough, shortness of breath, or fever, immediately encourage them to self-quarantine and seek medical attention to be tested for coronavirus. In addition: actively encourage sick employees to stay home and remain in contact with their doctors—and implement rigorous environmental cleaning protocols.
  • Reporting Structure – Ask employees to alert HR if they’ve tested positive for coronavirus (or if a family member or friend has). This should immediately trigger internal procedures and communications to inform and guide stakeholders (keeping names and details strictly confidential). Healthcare providers should report COVID-19 cases to their local or state department of health (DOH), which, in turn, informs the CDC. According to the CDC: “Persons who are placed under active monitoring or facilitated self-monitoring should follow instructions provided by their local health department or occupational health professionals, as appropriate.” As we know, this includes a two-week quarantine period.
  • Sick time – Given the spread of coronavirus, you may have to modify this policy and add a section for pandemics and epidemics. This is particularly true when a longer quarantine period is being recommended by the medical community, WHO, and CDC.
  • Technology – Whether or not you are providing laptops, tablets, or other mobile devices to employees, you will want to establish email and social media policies surrounding this or any other pandemic (update your social policy and, if you don’t have one, create one—and include language on epidemics and pandemics). Remind team members that they should take precautions and avoid at all costs clicking on links in emails as there are a flood of phishing scams, many of which use coronavirus scare tactics. Should they need information regarding the pandemic beyond what you will be providing, they should seek guidance only from the CDC, WHO, and local DOH websites. They should avoid seeking advice given on social media channels altogether.
  • Tracking COVID-19 – One member of the Crisis Team should be responsible for monitoring the CDC and WHO throughout the day for any new alerts, updates, or guidelines. This information will be disseminated to internal stakeholders and, in some instances, shared with the external stakeholders outlined in #2, below.
  • Travel – To protect the workforce and the public, guidelines and policies surrounding travel must be established and followed for all employees. A European travel ban was put into effect by President Trump on the evening of March 11, 2020. See the WHO website for travel advice.
  • Work-from-home – You’ll also want to update this policy and communicate what’s expected from team members and what they can expect of you—letting them know upfront that the situation is fluid and may change based on the pandemic’s trajectory and the CDC’s guidance.
  1. Communicate Internally with Clarity & Detailed Information

In times of a public health crisis, communication and coordination are essential. Glen Nowak, director of the Center for Health & Risk Communication at the University of Georgia and former director of media relations at CDC says it is crucial to eliminate mixed messaging. Nowak says this confusion can be problematic “because it communicates that people who are providing guidance aren’t on the same page.”

Successful communications start with employees and internal stakeholders. With coronavirus, it is no different. This means communicating—ongoing—with stakeholders (patients, staff, partners, customers, board of directors, investors, suppliers, local government, and others) about the pandemic—how it’s impacting the organization and those you serve.

Now is the time for CEOs and top executive to communicate with employees and stakeholders and reassure them by stating the steps the organization is taking. He/she should record an organic (not highly produced) 60-second video—on a current model smart phone­—describing the current state of affairs, steps being taken (to disinfect surfaces and protect people), what is planned next and why. This can supplement such written communications as direct mail pieces, emails, texts, and social posts. Then, have another C-level executive communicate regularly and as things progress. Chief executives should remain visible and communicate regularly to bolster confidence.

Internal communications should include but not be limited to:

  • Your concern and commitments.
  • Updated policies and procedures, with an emphasis on business continuity. This puts people at ease and demonstrates strong management.
  • Customer or public communiqués regarding continuity, public policy, protective measures, and the solutions you are implementing. This should include how to properly disinfect hard surfaces (computers and technology, office furniture, desktops, etc.) that can transmit the virus.
  • Frequent updates from credible sources.
  1. Create a Crisis Communications Scenario for Coronavirus

A crisis is an event that causes a significant threat to operations or image and that can escalate if not handled properly. Crises can cause severe reputational damage and deplete employee morale, so it is important to implement a plan ahead of time (or quickly if you do not have one in place). This includes preparing pre-approved messaging for specific situations that may arise.

Ultimately, the course of action for crisis planning depends on the type of organization you work for. Brainstorming the top communications scenarios your organization should prepare for is a good place to start.

This should be an adjunct to your existing crisis plan and include such elements as:

  • What happens when a confirmed case is established in your organization
    • Protocols, so all staff are immediately reminded about the company’s policies and procedures and given next steps
      • What measures you’ll implement logistically/operationally
    • Where staff may be working from and during what time frame, logistics around departmental and company-wide communications and “meetings,” reporting, client relations, technology support, and other considerations
    • Developing social posts, communiqués, and email copy/templates —in advance. These can be updated as circumstances unfold
    • What disinfecting procedures should be utilized
  • How your facility may be compromised and what steps you’re taking to address this (there may be several crisis scenarios that fall under this category)
  • Steps to take and communiqués that outline what happens if your chief executive or other C-level executives are infected
  • What to do if your facility or staff are blamed for infecting others for negligence
  1. Be Prepared for Media Inquiries

It is imperative to be prepared for media inquiries, which require a number of critical steps, including anticipating difficult questions; developing factual messaging that conveys empathy, transparency, and concern; establishing and media training a company spokesperson; and monitoring social and other media commentary.

  1. Try to Remain Calm & Stay Current on the Facts

As of March 30, 2020, there were 143,532 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the United States with 741,030 globally, impacting public health, mental health, businesses of all kinds and sizes, and the economy. During this time when many questions arise, it is imperative to stick with the facts. Visit the CDC website for regular updates www.cdc.gov. 

During times of crisis, stakeholders will rely on your organization’s leadership to provide answers, solutions, and guidelines to follow. Ahead of the crisis, prepare statements/communiqués for employees, social followers, and the stakeholders we’ve discussed, including the media.

With the COVID-19 pandemic, it is vital to maintain open, transparent communication with your stakeholders and the community. People panic when they feel a lack of control, and if you are consistent, calming, and communicative, you will be supporting those who matter most and protecting your organization’s best interests.

If your organization needs help with coronavirus PR and crisis communications, contact Chris Rosica at PR@rosica.com or call (201) 843-5600 x 202.

Five Ways Social Media Can Help Protect Your Reputation Online During a Crisis

Social media can be your biggest ally in monitoring and protecting your reputation online and it can impact several aspects of your business—from managing reviews to dominating search results for your name. When a crisis occurs, monitoring and managing social media are vital. This effort can impact your image and how you’re perceived in the marketplace.

Sometimes, events occur that drastically alter the way your company is viewed by its stakeholders. According to the Institute for PR, a crisis is an event that causes “a significant threat to operations or reputations that can have negative consequences if not handled properly.”

Academic scholar W.Timothy Coombs says there are three different types of crises organizations face – victim, accidental, and preventable. Victim crises are when the organization suffers a crisis due to no fault of their own. Examples of this are seen in natural disasters, workplace violence, product tampering, even Coronavirus. Accidental crises are those that happen despite seemingly good intentions, such as technical errors, data breach (could also fall under preventable), fires, or product defect issues (think Samsung Galaxy) – not resulting from negligence. In other words, it’s unintentional or uncontrollable. Preventable (or intentional) crises are risky events the organization knowingly participates in. Examples include sexual harassment, human-error product harm, or organizational negligence.

No matter what type of crisis your organization is facing, here are five ways social media can protect your online reputation: 

  1. Social media allows you to engage with customers and immediately respond to issues, comments, and crises.

During a crisis, your organization may see an increase in social media comments. Though stakeholders may be speaking poorly about your organization through comments or posts, be sure to remain responsive and do not hide or simply hope that the issue will resolve itself. When you delete users’ comments, it can appear you’re trying to hide something.

Instead of deleting comments, you can use in-app messengers (like Facebook Messenger, and Twitter / Instagram direct messaging) to send private messages to these people to assure them. By directly connecting with people and taking time to send private messages to them, we’ve created relationships and reduced fallout on social channels, which protects reputations.

Silence also isn’t the answer and, during times of crises, no response is a clear response. Acknowledging the crisis and providing your audiences with the information and resources they need, helps them view your brand more positively.

  1. Social media sites appear high in search results, and because you can manage most social content, you control the narrative (your image online).

Perception is key, and while your organization may or may not be to blame for the crisis, there are steps you can take to mitigate the damage and protect your reputation online. The first five results on page one of a search are responsible for nearly 70 percent of all search clicks. With this in mind, it is easy to see why complaints, negative reviews, and information about an organization or crisis that appear high in search results can seriously impact credibility, reputation, and sales. In fact, through our ongoing review of our clients’ analytics, we have found that if a complaint (a negative social review/post) appears in the first five organic listings of a search result, a B2B organization can expect conversion rates to decrease by 30 to 40 percent. In some business sectors, we have seen a conversion rate drop 65 percent due to negative content that appears high in an organic search.

The main thing to know is that social media channels appear high in search results. Google places a priority on social sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, and the like. As a result, if you have active social media profiles, they will likely appear on page one of a search result for your company or your key executives’ names.

  1. Social media allows you to post fresh content in real time, so you can consistently and proactively disseminate positive information about your organization to manage perception.

Social media allows you to develop and share a steady stream of content, from resources to stakeholders on managing the crisis – to subject-matter-expect advice. In other words, your content can pop up consistently reminding your potential customers that you are the expert and still offer smart solutions despite reputational challenges. If you proactively build a strong social presence, you can enhance the likelihood that your well-managed social content and profiles appear prominently on search engines so you can manage perception and your company’s image.

  1. Social media is a tremendous resource for collecting positive reviews about your company, which can markedly influence stakeholders.

The unfortunate reality is when companies receive praise for their services, the positive stories rarely appear and get noticed. During a crisis, you can expect a disproportionate number of negative reviews that communicate an inaccurate view of true customer satisfaction. We have met with companies that have thousands of happy customers and only two dozen negative posts and complaints. The ratio of satisfied to dissatisfied customers was not reflected in the negative reviews that prominently appeared online, and they lost sales opportunities because of a small percentage of unhappy clients. This is due to the fact that only a very small percentage of happy customers posted reviews. This demonstrates the importance of managing your online reputation and developing an ethical system for attracting reviews from happy customers.

Reviews pack a lot of punch. In fact, 83 percent of people in one survey reported that they do not trust advertising, while 72 percent said that they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations from real people.[1] Just how trusted are these peer-review sites? According to a Nielsen survey, peer recommendations are the most credible form of advertising, and when it comes to making a purchasing decision, buyers are 92 percent more likely to trust their peers over an advertisement.

Be sure that customers will see right through any attempt at deception, so be persistent in your efforts to encourage happy customers to post their authentic thoughts.

  1. Social media channels are a great place to disseminate publicity, views, thought leadership, and expertise, which impact reputation and image.

Here is another way social media can help you protect your reputation: Google and other search engines consider media outlets to be authoritative due to their credibility, fresh content, and heavy web traffic. This means that if you secure earned media coverage, it will rank high in Google’s algorithm—particularly if you syndicate synopses of the articles on social channels with links to this content online.

Then, use SEO tactics, such as link building, to promote it. If you act strategically, then, you can leverage positive media mentions of your company to control search results.

Managing search means managing perception, so work to manage the message and content that potential customers and partners see.

Of course, it is smart to prepare for crisis scenarios that could impact your reputation and organization’s livelihood.

Contact pr@rosica.com with any questions about crisis communications or social media marketing.

Expert Crisis Communications Council

Rosica specializes in health-related strategic internal and external corporate communications and media relations. We are helping corporations, public and private schools, universities, and nonprofits with COVID-19 communications preparedness and management.