‘Crisis’ more often than not refers to a life-changing event in the real world. In the business world it’s definition can range to a variety of disruptive events. From natural disasters to global financial changes, it also includes smaller-scale events that may be online including comments on social media, or the loss of reputation and face because of a particular event.

Reputation may be a small factor, however the loss of it can arguably have as much of an impact as a global financial event of natural disaster. As said by Warren Buffett; ‘It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.’ The impact of a loss of face is possible limitless. Reputation may be affected by client interaction, a public event, or actions online within perhaps Social Media. For a successful business, a positive image of yourself is essential to engage and re-engage your customers. Reputation is indeed everything in both life and business.

Reputation is very fragile and only one mistake can cause irreparable damage to your company’s image. This is now more so than ever before the case in today’s online world where clear transparency and high customer expectations exist. As such, ignoring strong public digital voices cannot be done anymore. Because of this, it is necessary for any business now to have a strong Social Media Crisis Management Plan. One would argue however that for this medium it is better to have a Crisis Prevention Plan. Companies have to communicate effectively in the Social Media age and really listen to what their customers are saying and respond in a way that aligns with both brand and customer expectations. Social Media has brought companies together with their clients unlike never before.

It will come back to bite on your company reputation if you remove posts that they didn’t agree with, or ignore certain ones and reply to others. Some companies have claimed that they were hacked when they clearly haven’t. Using such excuses to cover up activity can make it seem you don’t care about your customers. Honesty is vital to uphold your integrity and reputation. It is important to admit when you make mistakes and equally important to apologise and everything you can to correct the mistake.

Along the same line as online reputation management on Social Media, you need to secure your accounts. You need to ensure that only certain people within your company have access to your accounts. You don’t want your crisis to your reputation to come from within your company!

When you think of Crisis Management, you often forget of small scale factors that could become crises. Reputation falls into this category and is arguably one of the most important situations to plan for. That is, plan to PREVENT loosing. Prevention here is key. Talk to a consultant today to develop a prevention strategy to ensure any event does not involve your loss of reputation.