When things are going well for your company, being “social” in social media is easy. But as soon as a company or an industry experiences trouble — from an economic hiccup to a full PR disaster — it can be tempting to bar the gates and limit all public information so you can better control the message.

Guess what? That rarely helps — and, in these days of instant commentary, it can even make things worse.

Now that the public expects companies to be social, they also expect those companies to be more transparent (read: honest). After all, if they’re engaging you in a one-on-one dialogue, they (subconsciously, at least) begin to feel as though they deserve straight answers during times of crisis. (And don’t they?)

When things start looking gloomy, resist the urge to bunker down and cut off all outside communications. Instead, use the trust and goodwill you’ve built through your social media channels to keep your loyal customers (and critics) in the loop on the situation — and, more importantly, what you’re doing to fix it.

Once the cloud passes, your loyalists will feel as though they’ve weathered the storm with you — and they’ll be even more excited to tell others about what you’re doing right.

Photo by Chad Johnson.


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