Article written by Dani Andrews

Regarding any business crisis, communication is vital to avoid delays in response.

However, this can be incredibly challenging for unprepared organizations. A new study found that only 49% of surveyed US companies have a formal crisis communication plan, with almost a quarter not having one or not confident of having one. In the era of social media and ‘fake news’ that skews facts, a surrounding narrative can quickly get out of hand and cause long-term damage to your brand image.

On the other hand, having a crisis communications plan enables staff and managers to respond quickly and minimize adverse effects on a company. Given this digital age, often, the best way to address these crises is through digital marketing.

How you can manage crisis with digital marketing?

While it is tempting to halt marketing activity and wait out the storm, this can be more damaging than addressing the issue directly. Communicating with customers and other outside groups is essential in shaping how they perceive and respond to your brand and should be done with empathy, transparency, and accountability. Below, we’ll explore ways to address crises through digital marketing:

Use platforms to reach out and empathize with affected people

Before posting anything on any platform, ensure your marketing content is adjusted to the new context. Removing inappropriate or insensitive posts that may worsen the situation is best. Following this, it’s good to consult online platforms like social media for the public’s sentiment to help you craft a careful but quick response that can be spread easily. However, do note that unintended consequences can also play out. Marketing Interactive notes that social media is a double-edged sword, as it can be a source of news but also “cancel culture.” Given this balance, it’s essential for organizing to ensure their strategy involves fostering a positive and friendly social character— making it easier to show authenticity and sincerity when any social crisis issues come up.

Establish a good search engine presence

Depending on your crisis, you may need to restructure your marketing efforts to entice a new audience with new digital marketing methods. To reorient traffic, many marketers use pay-per-click ads, which appear on the top of the searcher’s results. Not only can this reroute traffic back toward your business, but it can make it easier for them to remember you positively. To make the most of your marketing budget, Ayima advises maximizing your Google quality score, as higher scores tend to be charged less per click. Marketers optimize this by ensuring the ads’ keywords are relevant to the search term, have a relevant landing page linked, and consider past click-through rates. It’s important to note however that this requires actively reviewing and refreshing your ad copy and assessing its impact. You can better leverage your online image and attract customers to your business through a good search engine presence.

Conduct post-crisis evaluation

A crisis may diminish over time, and returning to your usual marketing efforts may be possible. But rather than leave it as it is, companies must conduct a post-crisis evaluation to cover any gaps that could happen again. In most cases, digital marketing tools come with analytics that can help summarize your performance and responses during a crisis. This allows you to explore strengths and weaknesses for better preparation for the future.

Through digital marketing, you can better address and resolve crises as well as learn from your current performance. If you’re experiencing a business issue that isn’t as urgent as a crisis, we recommend visiting our post “6 Steps to Developing a Powerful Issue Management Program” to avoid significant problems down the road.

Dani Andrews is a business consultant and blogger. She dedicates her time in learning about the latest business trends and strategies. On her free time, she enjoys reading about the innovations in this space. 

Exclusively for PREPAREDEX