From minor customer service issues to full-blown PR nightmares, social media crises can quickly spiral out of control. All of a sudden, your business is under attack and you’re scrambling to contain the damage.
The key to managing a social media crisis is to act quickly and decisively. Of course, it’s hard to be decisive when you don’t know what to do. The best way to ensure that you’ll be ready to handle a social media crisis is to plan for one. With luck, you’ll never need to use your crisis plan. But if the worst does happen, you’ll be glad you prepared.
Here are our five top tips for managing social media crises:
1. Know theImportance of the Brand Safety Index
Your brand safety index is a measure of how likely it is that your brand will be associated with negative content that could damage your reputation. Staying on top of your brand safety index is a proactive way to avoid a social media crisis.
For instance, if you plan on spicing up your social media strategy by recruiting influencers, you have to ensure that their content aligns with your brand values. If you’re not careful, you could end up with an influencer whose content is offensive or harmful to your brand. Big yikes! 😬
This would obviously be a disaster. Once a crisis like that flares up, you can bet that your foreknowledge or intention won’t matter. All that will be remembered is that your brand was associated with negative content.
4. Establish a Crisis Team
A crisis team is a group of employees who are responsible for managing a social media crisis. Having one ready to go will help you respond quickly and effectively if a crisis does occur.
Firstly, you need to identify the right people for the job. Look for individuals who are levelheaded and quick thinkers. They should also be familiar with your brand and comfortable interacting with customers.
Next, you need to establish clear protocols for how the team will operate. Who’s in charge? Who needs to be notified? What’s the process for approving tweets or posts? How will issues be flagged? Who will have the final say on how to respond? By having these things spelled out ahead of time, you can avoid confusion and chaos during a crisis.
Finally, don’t forget to review and update your procedures regularly. Social media is constantly evolving, and your team needs to be able to adapt accordingly. By staying proactive, you can help ensure that your business is always ready to handle a social media crisis.
5. Address the Problem Quickly
The worst thing you can do with any burgeoning social media crisis is to wait it out. Like a snowball rolling down a hill, a problem that’s left unchecked will only grow larger and more unmanageable.
Instead, you need to address the issue head-on as quickly as possible. This means being honest, transparent, and apologetic—even if you didn’t do anything wrong. While there will be some extreme reactions no matter how you handle the situation, honesty can help cushion the blow for the majority of your customers.
You want them to feel like you’re taking the issue seriously and doing everything you can to make things right. Putting all scheduled posts on hold, not deleting negative comments, and issuing a public statement are all good ways to get your message across.
Don’t allow all your hard work to go up in flames because you weren’t prepared for a social media firestorm. Use our guide to create a plan that will help you get back on track when a crisis strikes.
The five steps above are general guidelines. You will still have to tweak and fine-tune your plan to fit the specific needs of your business. But by following these steps, you can create a solid foundation that will help avoid or mitigate any future social media crises.
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