Having a Social Media Crisis Strategy is of paramount importance in today’s digital age. Social media has taken the world by storm and its impact can be felt in the way people consume media and their relationship with the brands they love. Consumers have now become “fans” or “followers”. News is now consumed in a virtual “newsfeed” that consists of social media posts from a hand curated list of people and brands – which can include everyone from your grandma to your favorite breakfast cereal. Communication on social media channels is instantaneous – and highly visible.
Because of the immediacy of social media, it is possible that one disgruntled customer can post something negative on Facebook, or tweet something negative about your products that many eyes will see. Some companies fear this risk and choose not to participate in social media at all. But social media provides a huge prospect pool – and you can do a lot of free advertising through social media channels. The best approach to avoid a messy situation is simply to develop a social media crisis strategy that will protect you in the event a problem develops.
Here are some steps you can follow to develop your own social media crisis strategy:
1. Develop a plan – knowing how you plan to react in advance will enable you to act quickly in the event something comes up. This can be in the form of a checklist that can be used by any member of your team eliminating the need for one person to handle every emergency and expediting response.
2. Monitor, monitor, monitor – Your social media accounts need monitoring all of the time – but in the event of a crisis you need to be extremely diligent about monitoring to prevent things from escalating. There are social media monitoring services that can help with this – or you can assign a member of your team to check your account and any hashtags that are related to the problem.
3. Don’t respond defensively or aggressively – what you post can be retweeted and shared lightning speed – so think carefully before responding. Creating pre-approved responses to the most common issues that may arise is the safest approach.
4. Always respond immediately – Even the best businesses can get a bad review – it’s hard to please everyone. Don’t ignore negative feedback – do everything you can to fix the problem as quickly as possible and respond in a visible way. Be positive in your approach, fix their problem, and communicate when it is corrected. Your customer will feel appreciated, and your followers will see that you value their feedback.
5. Own it – Admit your mistakes, respond quickly, over compensate, and move on. It looks better when you accept responsibility rather than push off blame. Your response in a crisis says a lot about your brand, so always show integrity in your actions.The immediacy of social media may be scary – but you’ll have many more brand wins than crises, and the exposure to the ever growing social media audience is worth every minute you invest.
The immediacy of social media may be scary – but you’ll have many more brand wins than crises, and the exposure to the ever growing social media audience is worth every minute you invest.
Denise Grothouse is the Founder and President of Perfect Six, a Marketing and Brand Management Firm.