By now, I am sure you all have heard about Paula Deen’s past coming back to haunt her. The reputation that she worked to build was ruined quicker than you can say, "y'all." Most retailers, including Walmart and Target, will not even sell her product line. Ouch! As if the news hasn’t reported enough about it, she has gotten pretty popular on social media...and not in a good way!
Social Media: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly
Social media can be great if you want to get the word out and build relationships. But, it can also be abused. I wrote a blog called, We Give a Bleep About Our Brand Reputation. That blog was about ruining your own brand. But what do you do when other people ruin it for you? Ya’ll have some work to do!
Develop a Social Media Plan of Action
When disaster strikes, it usually comes out of nowhere, so be prepared. I am sure Paula did not have a recipe to follow, when her crisis occurred, but it looks like she is figuring it out a day at a time.
Unfortunately, social media rumors spread like a wildfire. True or untrue, it does not matter. Everyone knows that the media can stretch information. People on Facebook can post things, and it doesn’t cross their minds that they are contributing to hurting a real person and their reputation. So, what do you do if it happens to you? Here are some tips:
Don’t get angry- This will only make things worse.
Reach Out- Contact a team of experts who know what they are doing, for help and a quick clean up.
Be Prepared- Have an explanation and be honest. Lying will only worsen the situation.
Stay Professional- Now is not the time to lose your mind.
Be on Your Best Behavior
The best way to avoid this kind of scenario is knowing that it can happen. Whether you post something that someone might view as offensive, or you say something that is offensive, it can all come back to bite you. Be respectful, careful, professional, and have a social media plan in place before disaster strikes.