By Ann Marie van den Hurk
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Mobile technology is a part of everyday life. People do not think twice about recording events they think are interesting. Women in business must be aware of the usage of mobile technology, especially video. Disgruntled employees and unhappy customers have uploaded countless less-than-flattering videos of businesses to social platforms in the past five years. Protect your reputation by monitoring your brand online and if a crisis occurs respond quickly. A swift response within 24 hours will allow you a better shot at managing the situation.
These days, you can’t look at your Facebook feed or YouTube without seeing videos of people behaving badly. A lot of questionable behavior is caught on a smartphone and then editorialized while posted to a social media platform in matter of seconds. Many of these videos go viral.
You likely saw the recent video of a Taco Bell executive who physically assaulted an Uber driver or the one of the medical resident who berated another Uber driver. Both were relieved of their duties based on these videos.
Such videos can have a huge impact, and a lasting one, on the reputation of you and your business.
We live in the mobile video age. In 2015, 64 percent of American adults owned a smartphone of some kind, according to Pew Research Center. That’s up from 35 percent in 2011. Smartphone ownership is particularly high among younger Americans. Pew also found that 67 percent of adults use their phone to share pictures, videos or commentary about events happening in their community.
Mobile technology is a part of everyday life. People do not think twice about recording events they deem interesting. In 2015, YouTube users uploaded 300 hours of video every minute, according to Statistic Brain Research Institute. The total number of hours watched on YouTube each month is 3.25 billion hours.
Businesses have to be aware of the usage of mobile technology, especially video. Disgruntled employees and unhappy customers have uploaded countless less-than-flattering videos of businesses to social platforms in the past five years. Recently, a Carrier Air Conditioning employee recorded co-workers reacting to the news of layoffs and posted it to YouTube, causing it to cross over to mainstream news.
The restaurant industry is often a target of unflattering and very damaging videos. The drive-in restaurant chain Checkers received unwanted attention when employees were horsing around in a kitchen making a video and an employee was shown wiping a hamburger bun on the floor and then making a sandwich. It was posted to Facebook and then YouTube.
What can small businesses learn about reputation management in the mobile age from Checkers?
Checkers did five things right.
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_Plan in place. Checkers had a crisis response plan in place before the video hit social media. They were aware of potential situations and they had tactics in place to react quickly.
_Monitoring the brand. Checkers was listening to conversations about their brand online and media outlets.
_Response time. The company reacted within 24 hours by addressing the video, allowing them to manage their brand’s reputation.
_Setting the tone. Checkers took the video very serious and they responded in a sober tone addressing the situation.
_Addressing the appropriate channels. The video was posted on YouTube. In response, the brand created a short video covering what happened and how they addressed it.
While businesses cannot prevent customers and employees from carrying smartphones, taking videos, and then posting to social media, they can understand the threats to reputation and be prepared to manage the situation effectively.
ABOUT THE WRITER
Ann Marie van den Hurk, an accredited public relations professional, is principal of Mind the Gap Public Relations and author of “Social Media Crisis Communications.” Readers may email her at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @amvandenhurk.
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