Every business, large or small, can have a social media crisis. Even if you think your business might be immune, there is still things that can happen, events that are outside of your operational control, that can hurt your brand. So whether your next public relations crisis is a product recall, or a devastating disaster, it is important to plan and create procedures for when a crisis occurs.
Your actions within 5-10 hours of a crisis are crucial to how people will perceive your brand following it. The mistakes in dealing with a negative event on social media to your brand can be countered with a plan that includes the following basic outline:
Acknowledge and let your followers know what is going on. Whenever possible you want to control the discussion with facts coming directly from you, not from other sources.
Make a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) or Information Resource. This is typically in a place that you control and with minimal customer interaction capabilities. Most time this is on your website. You will direct anyone wanting information to this source throughout the entire crisis.
Respond on channels with facts about the situation within 5-10 hours. This means that the company decision makers must be reachable within 2-4 hours at all times, and if not, your social media crisis management plan should address this issue.
Social Media Crisis Mode, this means that you reply with regular updates on your information resource, working to keep the conversation focused on what is going on. It is all about protecting your brand from third-party outlets news.
Monitor, Update and Reply. Make steps to take responsibility and respond to comments as possible. It is important to allow a venting period in your controlled feeds. Allow the venting to happen, do not delete posts, rather acknowledge and respond where possible.
Monitoring your brand is important. We use a variety of simple and complex softwares to help clients see who is talking about them, who are their brand ambassadors and help be proactive with issues. If you are looking for someone to help manage your programs, feel free to let us know. On the other hand, if you are looking to manage your programs yourself, there are many tracking resources such as Hootsuite, Buffer and SocialOomph among others available to help.