This is a guest post byÂ Dan WebberÂ SVP of Crisis and Communications atÂ Edelman Digital (D.C. office) in efforts related to #recallawareness month.Â Follow Dan on TwitterÂ @danwebber. For the original article in its entirety go here.
With recalls come litigation and uncertainty and panic from consumers, as well as public demands from consumers for companies to not only fix the problem but compensate affected consumers. The level of public awareness and concern will drive the significance of a recall, but it is important to keep in mind that in the U.S. theConsumer Product Safety Improvement ActÂ (CPSIA) not only holds companies liable for the issues that lead to a recall, but for theÂ effectivenessÂ of the recall effort itself.
In order to effectively incorporate social media into recall communications, it is vital that response teams build an integrated plan beyond a simple Facebook post or Tweet. Below are a few tips to keep in mind.
Â Â Â Photo courtesy of: Causes.org
1)Â Â Â Â Â Fail to prepare, prepare to fail.
Rapid response teams need to prepare in advance and think across multiple social media channels to make sure they are fully covered online. This includes developing an early warning monitoring system that looks for early signs of product complaints and failures, developing toolkits to help guide a rapid respond process, training community managers, identifying who will approve statements and posts; classifying what digital channels will be used in advance (e.g., a dark site or where statements will go on web assets, social media, etc.), determining who controls those channels and making sure they understand the rapid response process, and perhaps developing dark posts.
2)Â Â Â Â Â Establish an online beachhead.
Make sure you have a place online where you can create a clearinghouse of information. This might be a blog, web page or even a full micro site. This should serve as a, education resource for media, consumers, regulators and others interested in the recall and should help address misinformation, simplify complexities, answer questions and provide additional resources.
3)Â Â Â Â Â Drive people to the beachhead.
This isnâ€™t â€œField of Dreams.â€Â Just because you build an online clearinghouse doesnâ€™t mean traffic will come. A variety of techniques can be used here, including posts on a company blog, Facebook, Twitter or other social channels, but itâ€™s important that consistent keywords and messages are used across platforms to help with search engine optimization. Paid media is an option as well. It will be important to be measured in your outreach approach and to strike a balance between creating the right amount of awareness and â€œfindable contentâ€ versus creating too much attention, thus making the issue a bigger deal then it needs to be. Be mindful of any other promotions or online activities currently running and determine whether they need to be postponed immediately.
4)Â Â Â Â Â Fight the urge to go on lockdown.
After you get information posted and broadcasted through the right channels, establish a regular response cadence. Thereâ€™s no need to respond to everything, but identify the types of posts, questions and comments that would benefit from a response and keep the lines of communication open. It is important to have clear internal guidelines on what can be said and what is off limits. Allow fans to continue to post and provide them a forum to engage. If you go on lockdown itâ€™s likely to create a story in itself and could lead to a missed opportunity to engage with stakeholders.
Recalls create brand uncertainty and can cast a negative light on a company. However, if handled properly, a companyâ€™s response can help reinforce brand affinity and bolster competitive advantage. How has your brand responded to recalls on social?
Editorâ€™s note: This post is part of #recallawareness month, led byÂ blog.consumerbell.com.