A crisis on social media can happen at any time. People nowadays use social media and they interact with many brands on Social media day and night, so the chases of you getting into a crisis situation on social media is much higher. It doesn’t matter what kind of industry you’re in, or how popular your brand is online. Sometimes, it just happens. Bigger brands like McDonald, Target, Walmart all faced this and you just can’t think that your brand will not be affected.
This is why you need to be prepared to face this kind of situation at anytime, when the fire keeps on rising you need a bigger water flow to put it out. When you do social media marketing you must take these things into consideration.
So in this article we will discuss the following important points.
- What are the measures you can take before a disaster
- What you should do during a social media crisis
- Steps to take after the crisis to prevent in from happening again
What are the measures you can take before a disaster
Educate the staff and get them together
Remember, most of the time when something is going out of hand, its your employees that can help you to stay strong. Most of the time people will not come directly at your company but to your employees with help and complaints. Therefore it is really really important for you to keep them ready with such situation by making your employees act as good respondents to the situation.
This includes having dedicated people assigned for some important tasks when disaster strikes.
- Who is responsible for social listening to identify potential crises?
- Who’s going to inform the management?
- Who will manage social media and respond to the situation?
- Who will be handling messages that come in through other channels?
- Who will act as a spokesperson for the media?
Know what is a crisis for your organisation
You need to understand what kind of events can trigger crisis situation for your industry. Not all bad news should trigger the fire alarm for your company.
Asses the kind of events that can create potential risk to your company.
Understand the industry norms and common issues because if something is commonly happening throughout the industry it’s a common issue to all including your competitors. But if it is not normal, then you have an issue.
Try to identify the events that can actually trigger a crisis situation in your company and keep a good ear out for those kind of events.
Invest on a listening tool
Get a social monitoring tool that help you find out what’s being said about you, and where. People will not tag your brand page or name for all their negative feedback. If you’re trying to see everything happening on social media without a listening tool, well that s not going to help. You need a tool that gives you real-time updates and lets you analyze large amounts of data to come into conclusions.
You can use a tool like Mention to do this.
What to post and what not to post
This is the main reason for a social media crisis. You need to understand your target audience very clearly. What are the sensitive triggers of people, when it comes to Sri Lankan context this is really important because we are very cultural and religious. Make sure you do not capitalise on real world problems, sexism, racism will not be tolerated in social media world.
What you should do during a social media crisis
Pause your scheduled posts
When you are in a crisis situation, you do not post anything to promote your business on social media. Just imagine your followers are hammering you with a defective product you sold recently and you accidentally posting something that says “Month end sale, get 50% for all products #Gurantee #Happy #QualityProducts”. That hashtag will put some hay to the fire.
Publicly accept what’s going on
You can’t hide the truth anyway, so it’s always best to come forward and tell that you know about the issue and you are taking correct actions to fix it.
Let your team know
Like explained earlier, its your employees that can help you put out the fire, get them to respond to the situation like you planned before. This way you may be able to lessen the harm overall.
Have a recorded response
If the issue is major so should be your response. Make sure you record the response on your website or even on youtube as a video where your customers can easily access. Remember Sony apologizes for PlayStation Network attack, outage in 2011?
Steps to take after the crisis to prevent in from happening again
Asses the impact
From a social media perspective, focus on factors like lost followers, specific complaints/reviews and the amount of negative sentiment around your brand. You will be able to see where your response was most effective, so keep a record of this for the future. Social listening tools can come for your rescue again at this stage looking for the damage.
These insights will help you understand how badly your brand reputation was hit, and you will be able to plan better for the future by having benchmarks for these data to identify anomalies in the future.
Have a meeting with your team and even with the employees and educate them on what happened and how you managed the situation. Make sure they all understand what to do when something like this happens in the future. Also get the team to give their opinions on the situations and take the good suggestions into account and update your crisis management plan accordingly.
Negative news and complaints can linger far longer than a week or two in social media, in fact it can be there even forever. You need to understand this and make sure you always try to avoid crisis situations at all cost.