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How to Manage a Social Media Crisis

Is your brand in some hot water on social media? It’s time to learn all the best ways to avoid a social media crisis!

Posted 3 months ago

Written by

Mackenzie Taylor
Posted 3 months ago
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:

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  1. 1. Know theImportance of the Brand Safety Index

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.
kfc social media crisis management

2. Create a Social Media Policy

A social media policy is a document that outlines how your employees should behave on social media. This includes things like what they can and can’t say, what kind of information they can share, and how they should handle negative comments online.
Having such guidelines on paper not only lessens the risk of employees making mistakes that could damage your brand but also protects your business if an employee does something wrong.
For example, let’s say one of your employees gets into a heated argument with a customer on Twitter. If you have a social media policy in place, you can take disciplinary action against the employee without fear of being sued for wrongful termination.
Be sure to consult with an attorney before finalizing your social media policy to ensure that it’s legally sound.
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3. Monitor Your Social Media Channels

Monitoring your social media channels is a crucial part of crisis management. By keeping tabs on what’s being said about your brand, you can nip any problems in the bud before they escalate.
There are a few different ways to do this. The first is to set up Google alerts for your brand name and other relevant keywords. This way, you’ll be notified anytime someone mentions your brand online.
Another option is to use social media monitoring tools that make it easy to track what’s being said about your brand across all social media platforms.
For smaller businesses, you can also simply manually check your social media channels on a regular basis. This may not be the most efficient option, but it’s still better than nothing.

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.
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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.
Want to stay on top of all the latest social media news and crises that are happening online each week? Subscribe to our podcast, Talk Social to Me to hear the latest and greatest of the social media world in your ears weekly!

Content

1. Know theImportance of the Brand Safety Index

2. Create a Social Media Policy

3. Monitor Your Social Media Channels

4. Establish a Crisis Team

5. Address the Problem Quickly


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