The world can change with one tweet. Be prepared for a digital attack.
What do I need to do to prepare myself for a digital attack?
Your reputation is your brand.
A favorable reputation is incredibly valuable and can change any moment. From day 1, make a face for your company culture and stay in front of your customers on social and reviewing sites.
People get a personal feel when companies comment on their opinions. Make it a habbit (or hire professional help) to stay active online. Don’t overlook lesser-known platforms. If people talk about you on Tumblr and you don’t know what it is- figure it out!
Build your identity
As stated above, you need to stay active online. That does not mean only engaging in reviews. You need to post content and talk regularly with the Internet. This will give your company a voice and fans. Fans, that in an online emergency, will be sticking up for you.
Seek help when needed
Owning a business is a lot more than the physical nature of the door to your restaurant. It’s okay to not be an expert in everything. There are many articles online about social media mobs going after businesses, and what caused it to happen. Research, then research more! An online attack can break a business if they do not react appropriately.
You will see people from all areas of the business world during a social media attack. Journalists, bloggers, activists, etc. Depending on the severity, you may have people come to your store in person to discuss the crisis. Anytime you have the opportunity, be networking with allies in your community. Food bloggers come in? Get their info. When you need people to stand up for you, your regulars will stand up for the fight… But it’s always good to have some big names behind you.
The crisis is already happening!
Turn off all social platforms you can.
Most can be reactivated. We do not want more people harassing you,
your employees, or your business.
Do not respond to “haters”.
You will really, really, want to. They can be threatening, mean, and just plain wrong. It is much better to not respond than to accidentally make things worse.
Put out a press release.
Do not veer from your statement. No need for clarification. Everything you need to say should be done via a press release and overlooked by a 3rd party of some sort. The third party needs to be in a position to disassociate themselves from the crisis and ensure personal feelings are out of the document. For example, a business owner may write “So And So incorporated is a bunch of ____s who wouldn’t know ___ if it ___.” We want to make sure we do not create more problems with our press release. “The comments from So and So incorporated were surprising to hear.” During a crisis, the attack will feel personal and you will want to respond the way you would if someone said it to your face. Do not. Make it professional.