While social media is a great way to interact with your customers, it can also put your reputation on the line. Lucy Hall speaks to Reputation Communications, specialists in strategical crisis PR and communications for the SME sector…
Reputation Communications was asked to help an SME that provides high-spec, luxury accommodation to a largely international audience.
The company ran into trouble when the developers fell behind with their building schedule. The accommodation was still far from complete, but tenants were expected to arrive in just a few weeks. Realising that the accommodation would not be fit for purpose, let alone live up to its luxury billing, the management company started to put in place emergency measures to mitigate the disruption.
However, as residents began to arrive to discover their luxury apartment was still surrounded by building work, they took to social media to voice their anger and dismay. This not only risked the company’s reputation among the local client base, but also risked contaminating the brand across the company’s other UK sites, as well as internationally.
Firstly, RepComms recommended putting in place robust social media monitoring to identify the key influencers and those most affected by the disruption. Secondly, it suggested the company significantly increase the compensation measures in place to help those inconvenienced by the over-running work. Finally, RepComms recommended stepping-up communication to keep residents informed of the work schedule, ensuring any noisy work was contained within certain hours.
Having identified the ‘vocal’ few on social media, the company engaged directly to take the conversation off-line and invited them to meet the management team to voice their concerns. A comprehensive compensation package was put together for all affected residents, including cash-back on rent while work was ongoing.
Residents’ concerns were heard and acted upon. Social media was used to update residents on progress and details of compensation, as well as updates to the work schedule and reminders of when workmen would be onsite.
Finally, a drinks reception and barbecue, linked to a major summer cultural event, was also paid for and hosted by the management company. Social media was used to engage directly with residents for input into shaping the occasion. What started with a group of disgruntled residents led to relaxed, informal socialising with neighbours, helping to create a real sense of community.
Reputation Communications specialises in strategical crisis PR and communications for the SME sector. Find out more about its services at www.reputationcommunications.com
Lucy Hall is a social media and online marketing consultant and founder of Social Day, the social media forum for SMEs. See details of the London event at http://socialday.co.uk/