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Five Lessons From a PR Crisis: How to Handle a Social Media Disaster and Turn it into an Opportunity

By Candice Georgiadis for Fast Company

Public relations is not mentioned in today’s business sphere without social media. Many see social media as a major driver of brand perception. It’s no wonder 33% of PR professionals rely on social media daily, while 17% use it weekly. For brands, 43% are more likely to make use of social media tools, compared to 24% of PR agencies.

Imagine you’re a social media expert working for a high-profile client. Everything is going smoothly until one day, a post goes viral for all the wrong reasons. In the blink of an eye, the social media crisis quickly goes out of control and the brand is dragged through the mud.

This situation describes me some years ago when I was starting as a social media specialist. At first, I wasn’t sure what to do. There was an absolutely overwhelming volume of negative comments for my client’s brand. In a matter of days, it was looking as though it was the end of my client’s brand, as well as my career as a social media specialist. Thankfully, it immediately turned around after a little research on how major brands carried out crisis management. Two brands, in particular, caught my attention.


United Airlines came under fire in 2017 after a video went viral showing one of their passengers being forcibly removed from a flight to accommodate one of their crew members. This led to outrage from different people on social media. United initially went with the option of defending its actions, but later apologized to the passenger with added compensation. The airline also announced a series of changes to its policy, including raising the amount of money offered to passengers who voluntarily give up their seats on overbooked flights. While the incident was a major blow to the company, its response helped mitigate the damage and rebuild the trust of its customers.  For more, click here.
Free Stock photos by Vecteezy

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