Crisis management: the role of the company’s website

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Seriously, a crisis or a problem can arise at any time for any company – from a single dissatisfied customer letting go on social media to a complete product recall or a trust or reputation issue (remember the offensive employee of Savill?), these things have all shapes and sizes.

It is assumed that most companies will have a complete crisis communications plan that incorporates different off-page elements, but when a problem occurs, a company’s website should become the main source of information for the public, the media and other stakeholders. The beauty of a website is that it is a proprietary means of communication, the company’s own tool with which it can disseminate information to the world without other parties necessarily involved.

Social media is a crisis

Unfortunately, social media often takes center stage for a number of reasons: it’s easy and quick for stakeholders to post their opinions, and similarly respond to the company in question, sometimes without wanting to add more fuel to the flames.

While communication during a crisis needs to be direct, social media often doesn’t allow for a nuanced approach or an adequate number of words to do the job really well. Sure, it can help amplify a message, but it usually makes sense for the original version to be in context on the company’s website with a reasonable explanation of the situation, not limited to 280 characters or similar.

Hosting content on the company’s website is also a reminder of other areas of work, products, services, culture, and so on. Often, companies in these situations are vilified for a problem (sometimes seemingly minor in the case of the “M&S Colin the caterpillar cake” door), when customers are still happy to continue treating them on other fronts.

A question and answer document, hosted on the company’s website, can be a simple but effective way to deal with the many questions that arise during a crisis and can be used in its entirety through a link or in chunks. small size on social media, if so. guaranteed.

How to deal with a crisis on social media is a blog post (or more!) In itself, but it’s worth remembering that it’s usually worth setting aside the debate or topic / crisis on social media, if it’s possible. Some platforms allow the account holder to hide customer feedback without the person noticing, which can give the company time to plan and respond before things get out of hand.

Continuing with the topic of unwanted feedback, it’s obviously not a good policy to silence customers, but it can be helpful to pause the opportunity to comment on blog posts, customer reviews, or other areas of the company’s website. until the problem is resolved. And unless the team that manages a site’s chat feature hasn’t been informed and is ahead in the crisis, it can also pay to turn off that feature for a while.

Video content

Formerly, a major crisis would have caused the company spokesman to make the rounds of several stations, all eager to get their piece of meat. However, now a company can record its message and convey it to the world from the comfort of its own facilities to get a more timely reaction and a much less stressful situation for the spokesperson. And as the situation progresses, the business can continue filming as needed, not just making statements on the air when the media calls.

From a public relations standpoint, it may be worthwhile to select the right media interviews to reach a wider audience and help rebuild trust (hiding behind the intended content won’t do the job). However, a company no longer has to wait to be asked: they can stream your message directly and host it on their website.

Video is not only the most consumed type of content (in 2020, 96% of consumers increased their online video consumption and 9 out of 10 viewers said they wanted to see more videos from brands and companies), but in a crisis there is nothing like seeing the white of someone’s eyes and hearing the tone of someone’s voice.

Video content should be optimized and shared on the company blog, but it can also be hosted on YouTube and posted on other social media platforms. As before, it’s much better for the content to be embedded on the company’s website and shared from there, rather than directly from YouTube without any context.

An optimized keyword transcript or blog entry for the interview is also helpful from an SEO perspective. It may seem counterintuitive to help search engines find your crisis content, but if people are already searching, it’s best that the content of a positioned, undiluted, no-compromise company can be found along with any media coverage.

Signage

Once the content is published on the site and depending on the importance of the problem, it may be helpful to tell website visitors this information, especially when a person lands on the home page using a direct search because they already know the URL. or I already had it added to a bookmark.

Building an additional wording with relevant links to the content is here the obvious solution or adding a pop-up window that can offer multiple routes to different areas of the site.

Media Vs. public visitors

When a major crisis occurs, companies often face an influx of customer and client calls, as well as journalists and media. It is hugely beneficial if a website has a dedicated media center at all times, but in a crisis it is a must.

While any member of the public could access this area (so keep this in mind when creating content such as press releases), it will save marketing and public relations teams an infinite amount of time to respond to individual requests. .

If a website has had a communication hub for a while, it is also worth taking stock of whether any of this content can do more harm than good in the midst of a crisis. Do you want your spokesperson’s images to be readily available to the press or do you prefer more control?

Contact details

Sometimes one-to-many communication is inadequate and customers and clients want the peace of mind of personal interaction, often a person-to-person phone call.

When time is of the essence, it is often best to have a very tight team that understands the problems inside. Therefore, it is helpful to direct customers to a dedicated call center or to someone who knows the positioning and messaging that the company needs to convey.

Ensuring that the best contact phone numbers or emails are communicated on the site (or in the new pop-up window) can mean that the rest of the business can proceed normally with a SWAT team assigned within reach to deal with the rest.

Each crisis is different and there will be specific problems that arise in some situations that do not in others, making it difficult to write a useful publication on crisis management.

Digital and SEO teams may not seem like the obvious choice of staff to include in a crisis team, but they can be critical in helping to deal with a situation and ensure the website works hard and in the best interest of the company.