We all know that search engine optimization (SEO) is important for our online business and reputation. But what about in a social media crisis? How much help can the search engines provide to you during the stressful events of a social media crisis, and how can you leverage that help to the maximum of your capabilities?
When it comes to a social media crisis, the search engines are most definitely your friends – or at least you want them to be! In a crisis you have a message to share, one that you want to be heard by as many fans, customers and prospective customers as physically possible, and the search engines are a great tool to help you achieve this goal – if you know how to use them!
Aside from this, in a social media crisis, many – and I mean many – people are going to be searching for the story. What happened? Why did it happen? What’s happening now?… And the goal is that they find your version of story and your messaging, before they find the offending content, reviews or any other content that you did not create and for which you have no control over.
In order for the search engines to work to your advantage in a social media crisis, consider the following preparations and strategic implementations:
How to become friendly with the search engines before a crisis strikes
Have an established blog and post frequently
Having a targeted blog that you publish on frequently is one of the secrets to your SEO success. The higher your blog ranks within the search engines before a crisis strikes, the more opportunities it will present to you when you find yourself faced with a social media crisis and need a strategic place to publish your FAQ or official response!
Be active on Google+
Google+ is proving to have many SEO advantages attached to being active on this new social network. By being present and active, and by having many people in your circles and vice-versa, you’ll be gaining a strategic edge to the search engine optimization game – as well as the many other benefits that come along with building a valuable network on social media.
Understand how the search engines work
Search engine optimization can be quite overwhelming and confusing. If you have a regular blog but find that you aren’t ranking the way you want to be or should be, then I recommend doing a little Google search and finding white hat techniques to upping your ranks. Trust me, it’ll prove itself more than useful the day you find yourself faced with a social media crisis!
How to optimize your social media crisis response
The before strategies, as seen above, will help you gain rankings within the search engine results pages (SERP), which have many benefits for your online marketing and online reputation. But when you find yourself faced with a social media crisis, you’ll want to use those already acquired benefits to your advantage, as well as properly optimize your crisis-related content to rank as high as possible within the search engines.
Follow these simple yet crucial techniques when optimizing your social media crisis response.
We’ve all heard about keywords and their beneficial uses within the search engines. When it comes to releasing your official response to the crisis, make sure to use the appropriate keywords within your:
- Video (yes, the words you use within your video response count!)
Using the appropriate keywords within your official statement will assure that your message gets found by the right people, at the right time.
This is an important one. The title you choose for your official response plays a major role in how optimized that response gets, and who sees it. You want to be found by everyone searching for your side of the story as well as everybody searching for the offending video or content.
Here’s the secret:
Title your response the same title as the offending content and add “your brand name responds” at the end of it.
One great example of this is Domino’s Pizza.
When the offending video was released to Youtube that launched Domino’s into the biggest social media crisis they had ever seen, Domino’s responded by means of their own youtube video and titled it perfectly to be found within the search engines by anyone who may have been searching for their response or the offending video. Take a look:
Offending video name: “Disgusting Domino’s People”
Domino’s video response: “Disgusting Domino’s People – Domino’s Responds”
The goal is to regain control
The key, in a social media crisis, is to control as much as you possibly can. A crisis takes the control away from you and gives it to your fans, followers, subscribers, bloggers and the public. Your mission in a crisis is to regain control of the situation as quickly as possible and to come out of it with the least amount of repercussions to your brand. In order to do this, you need to focus on the areas where you always have the control:
- Your content
- Your messaging
- Your responses
- Your actions
And the way you title these ares of control, and the higher you rank within the search engines, the more control you will have and continue to gain.
Do you have any other SEO tricks to help others rank high within the search engines when faced with a social media crisis? Share your comments and insights with me below!
Author of Crisis Ready: Building an Invincible Brand in an Uncertain World, Melissa Agnes is a leading authority on crisis preparedness, reputation management, and brand protection. Agnes is a coveted keynote speaker, commentator, and advisor to some of today’s leading organizations faced with the greatest risks. Learn more about Melissa and her work here.