25 February 2015 0 Comments

8 Best Approaches to handle critical online situation

Author: yinkaolaito

Yinka Olaito is happy,excited and passionate Communications & Media specialist, Trainer and speaker. Yinka Olaito helps Profits and Non-profits with effective communication and positioning for premium service delivery and returns. Yinka Olaito also has special interest in Development Communication and has consulted for noted UN Agencies. Yinka Olaito is the CCO of Michael Sage Consulting(Communication/digital media), African Child Education Right Initiatives(NGO) and Content Director, Africa Development Talk( online Platform for discussion on Policy, Governance, development across Africa) and Africa Foundation for Young Media Professionals


Online crisis, online reputation management, how to handle online crisis, best approaches to crisis communication,  Nigeria crisis communication issue,  Swift/GLIDE and crisis communication

The challenges of this age are as complex as the age itself. Online crisis has become part of what we must live with. Shrewd Community or Public Relations Manager must keep honing their skills if things  must work well for the organizations, brands we represent. Because the barrier of entry into online communication is porous, many just take delight in maligning others they feel or  are afraid may constitute a major block for them in the future. They pick holes in every honest conversation and  assume they know better than the other party.

In our little walk within the communication industry, we have seen many busy bodies who have no business opening their mouths or using the keyboard as often and as they do, but who unfortunately keep manufacturing lies without any concern for whom such actions may  hurt. Many just  because of a desire to be noticed will go to any extent to ‘break news’ that never existed.

This and so many issues are the reasons why community managers must be at alert. Though we must also accept the fact that not many ‘seemingly’ hate posts are out to malign. Some have genuine reason to and therefore must be acknowledged. Because of this dilemma, it is essential to learn how to separate the seed from the weed. Community Managers must not be in the habit of raising their suspicious arsenal each time something goes wrong online with regards to  communication, reputation and other failures.

In every situation,  whether justified or unwarranted,  the aim should be to enhance mutual understanding, gain new friends. In cases where this seems impossible, we must not create any hard feelings inside many other casual observers who may want to see how the pendulum will swing. The unfortunate aspect of this is that we never know how many of the over three billion Internet audience globally are paying attention to what we are doing at our own corner of the digital divide.

Today let us look at thd best ways to address online crisis or any other messy situations which we may confront.

Nail the source, find the motive: You cannot win a war you know nothing about. This is the reason why in Military setting strategy is essential. Strategy rests on better appreciation as well as understanding of all the enemies’ antic, resources etc. There Is no fire without a smoke. Quickly do your research,  what is the source and the motive of this situation. Is the individual or group out to score  cheap points? Is there any justifiable reason for this. No reason is too small to overlook. What you may consider insignificant may be very significant to the other party. Wear their shoes if they have genuine point to start this.

Be professional: when the water is soiled and tempers are charging high, there is always a tendency to throw professionalism into the gutter by engaging in unethical means of resolving the issues. No matter the level of provocation, always be professional in the way you handle issues. Many underdogs will want to drag you to their own level by being mischievous so they can tell the world what you are doing wrong. They have a sinister motive, mission which you must not allow them to accomplish through you. In all you do, ask if what you are about to say, publish will enhance your brand’s professionalism. In Nigeria today, we have seen the likes of Governor Fayose and Femi Fani- Kayode playing the devil’s Advocate role.we stand to be corrected they may have their reasons which they are both entitled to.

Use same channel: a common mistake many organizations make is to use different platforms as the first means of addressing issues. It does not work that way. The channel used by the complainer should be your organization’s first communication tool and not otherwise. If the issue kicks off offline, start with that platform and incorporate others as a way to gain greater visibility for your argument or defence. You will be doing a lot of disservice to yourself and organization if dyou isobey this rule.

Desist from name calling: in addition to the above, there is always a tendency to join the bandwagon by resulting to names calling or engage the use of abusive words. You do not gain much friends by being abusive, you only make people laugh and wonder.

Focus on the issue: in many ways, people who start the war will always want to distract your focus by throwing up several non relevant issues. Stay on the issue, address the major issues at stake and stop jumping around to issues that are not relevant to the present crisis. If you do this, the underdogs would have won the battle by succeeding in getting you distracted.

Switch and use offline tools: why the online tools may be good, wise organizations also understand the use of other offline tools that can quickly lower the tension. Recently our Internet Service Provider-Swift4GLite, was misbehaving. After waiting few days we decided to start a communication, registering our displeasure through twitter. The company responded to our twitter complaint within 24 hours and asked us to give them our customer Identity number which we did. The company tried as much as possible to follow up with phone calls etc.Even though their service is still not 100% satisfactory, we  stayed with them because they made efforts beyond online communication. Meanwhile while this was going on a competitor had reached out to us hoping we can switch. Always go the extra mile

Show empathy: whatever happens show empathy. Never display any form of arrogance,  show off an attitude which communicate to the party concerned  they are not relevant. Remeber other 3 Billions online users may be monitoring your reactions.

Communicate,  communicate communicate: This is not the best time to maintain silence. Communicate,  communicate,  communicate.  Communicate the efforts you have taken, that you are taking and the solutions you have provided till the crisis dies down. Never assume people know you are trying. You have got to let everyone knows you are doing something,offering helps and providing ongoing assistance, solution to the party concerned. Be sure to communicate agreement reached except this has been jointly agreed between parties to be classified. Even at that let people know an agreement had been reached which both parties will wish to be classified until further notice. If possible get the parties involved to say something about the agreement.

We may not always get 100% best result every time but it is obvious we will always come out better, stronger and we’ll appreciated by al

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