At Summa Media, we know all too well that a social media crisis plan is often something you fail to think of until it is too late. Many of our social media management Denver clients tend to argue that they are small, their posts are not controversial, they have stellar customer service, and therefore, they do not need a social media crisis plan.
Although all of those things might be true for both you and our social media management Denver clients, it is still foolish not to have a social media crisis plan in place. With the reach and instantaneous nature of social media today it is very easy for a seemingly innocent mistake or off the cuff negative review to be taken completely out of context and go viral. When this happens it can be a PR nightmare with wide reaching business implications.
In order to prevent and mitigate social media crises, it is important to have a plan in place for how you will manage a social media crisis if and when it occurs. Today, the Summa Media team is sharing the strategy we use with our social media management Denver clients. Keep reading below to learn how you should respond in crisis.
How to Manage a Social Media Crisis
Before the Crisis
Establish a Crisis Management Team
One of the most important components of crisis management is making sure that you have the right crisis management team in place in order to handle the crisis quickly and effectively. Identify the individuals across departments — marketing, social media, sales, and senior leadership — who will serve as the decision makers when a crisis hits.
Set Up Social Media Alerts
Set up social media alerts across all social channels to ensure that you are immediately notified of a crisis inducing post. Carefully monitor all channels so that when something negative is posted, you can deal with the situation head on.
Establish Rules for Escalation
Not every negative tweet or comment will require escalation to the crisis response team. Determine which situations can be handled by your social media managers alone and which need to be escalated to the team.
Formulate Basic Response Templates
In order to ensure timely responses to crisis, establish basic templates, rules, and guidelines that can be applied to various situations. Of course a degree of customization will always be required, but by formulating templates ahead of time you will be able to act quickly.
After the Crisis
Review the Information Carefully
At the first sign of crisis it is important to pause for a moment and review the information carefully. Although you want to act quickly, you do not want to act impulsively. Reviewing before responding will ensure appropriate action.
Alert the Crisis Management Team
Once you are aware of the situation, escalate the situation according to the rules of escalation described above. The team will then be able to assess the crisis and advise accordingly.
Investigate the Situation
You cannot respond to a situation if you do not know what exactly happened. Do a little digging to determine:
- The root cause of the crisis
- Has anything already been done to remedy the situation?
- How widespread is the conversation?
- What is the general public opinion?
Acknowledge the Crisis
The worst thing anyone can do in crisis is to brush it under the rug and hope that it goes away. Take the time to acknowledge what happened, apologize where necessary, and share what you are doing to avoid similar issues in the future.
Understand the Business Impact
Leadership will be most concerned with the business impact. Understanding how the crisis will ultimately impact brand reputation, revenue, and customer loyalty will all need to be reported on.
Monitor the Situation
Social media crises are often very fluid, rapidly changing situations. As your team is working on your response, carefully monitor public opinion and new comments and factor them into your response.
Determine Your Response
Once you understand the full scope of the situation at hand, it is time to determine your brand’s response. The tone and wording of the message, distribution channels, and the timing of your response should all be a part of your overall response plan.
Although no one wants to find themselves faced with a social media crisis, the inconvenient truth is that all brands and businesses are vulnerable to them. Failing to plan for crisis is planning to fail when crisis occurs. Taking the time to establish a social media crisis response plan will inevitably set your brand up for longterm success.
If you are looking for advice on your brand’s social media response plan, the Summa Media team is here to help. Contact our team to today to learn more!