24 Jul How to Handle a Social Media Crisis Like a Pro
There’s nothing worse than being attacked on social media, whether the fault lies on you, your staff, our your customers. As we all know, social media can be a double-edged sword, that being, virality can happen on both sides of the aisle. While most traditional marketers would say “bad PR is still PR”, why would any brand want their reputation to be tarnished? When a crisis happens, here are 6 things brands can do to make sure their brand stays afloat.
FIRST OF ALL, WHAT CONSTITUTES A “CRISIS”?
One dismayed customer posting something negative about you does not constitute a crisis, however, multiple people posting within a specific time range that is more that your usual volume of engagement might be a crisis. An employee posting something negative about another employee is not a crisis, but a company disparaging the brand or company itself that triggers a mob mentality among other coworkers might constitute as a crisis. Factors to consider an event as a crisis are:
Volume : How many people have posted, shared or commented on the content within a short amount of time? Is it more than your usual engagement rate?
Timing : Are the engagement activities spread out over time or all concentrated within hours or days? Has someone posted something inappropriate based on the timing of the situation?
Context : What is the cause of the bashing? Is your product defective? Inappropriate Messaging/Posts? Has your employee erred in a way that damages the company? Is it a cybersecurity issue such as hacking, email phishing, or hacked database? Knowing what the cause of the negative engagement is crucial to your next steps.
Extent of Damage : How damaging are the posts made? Will they affect the overall image of the brand and the messaging? Will it ultimately tarnish your reputation and affect your bottomline?
After figuring out these initial details, it’s important to actually get started on handling the situation on hand.
First, act fast. The longer you wait to address the crisis, the more damage it can do to your brand. Make sure you have a crisis management plan in place and that your team knows how to execute it quickly. Reply in a timely manner to the person who posted and raised the concern. If needed, post a correction, erratum or an announcement on the page recognizing the error and the steps taken to resolve the issue.
STOP ALL SCHEDULED POSTINGS
Nothing like a taste-less post to add fuel to the fire. Stopping all scheduled postings will prevent any potentially inappropriate or insensitive content from being posted while the crisis is ongoing. It is safer to say less than say more than what is necessary.
DON’T HIDE, DEAL BY ENGAGING
Nothing will piss off an angry customer more than knowing that their messages or comments are being hidden, or worse, if they got blocked. They can easily find a friend’s account to send their complaints to your Page. It’s important to deal with the crisis by engaging with your audience. Address their concerns and show that you are taking steps to resolve the issue. Ignoring them won’t make the problem go away, so best to deal with the concerned customer by communicating with them appropriately.
DON’T FIGHT IN PUBLIC
It’s easy to get defensive or emotional when dealing with a crisis, but it’s important to remain professional and avoid any public arguments or confrontations. Acknowledge their public post or comment by replying to it and try to ask them to privately message or contact your company via phone or email so that you can better assist them.
BE PROACTIVE VS REACTIVE
Take steps to prevent similar crises from occurring in the future by reviewing your social media policies and procedures and making any necessary changes. Learn about the issues encountered by your customers in the past and use those bad experience for process improvement. However, every situation can serve as a lesson learned for both parties. Which leads us to….
HAVE AN INTERNAL SOCIAL MEDIA POLICY
Prevention is better and more manageable than cure as they say. Being proactive about your company’s policies regarding posting and responding on social media. Nothing is worse than having your own employee post something inappropriate that directly affects your business, whether it’s on their personal account, or on your business account. Having an internal company policy on social media will provide clear guidelines on what is expected of your staff, particularly on divulging sensitive and confidential topics that they are not allowed to share on social media. Employees in charge of your social media account should know when to move a conversation from the public to a private avenue such as Personal Message, Direct Message, Email or In Person. Describe what business information employees are allowed to share, and what should be kept confidential.