A social media crisis is one thing every brand needs to be prepared for. Of course, no brand wants to end up in such a crisis but disaster can strike at any moment. You have to be prepared for any eventuality that might fall your way. An inappropriate tweet or a wrong account login can easily trigger a crisis. As a brand, it is your communications team’s job to control the crisis. So, in case something like this happens to you then follow the given steps for management of this crisis:
1. Is it actually a social media crisis?
You need to ascertain, keeping all the technical details in mind, whether or not the situation is an actual crisis or just a simple mishap. Overreacting brings out the cringe in all of us and makes us look bad. Therefore, we need to keep a check on our emotions and think rationally whether the accident will have an impact on the brand or not.
2. Pause your marketing activities
When you are in a crisis, then you need to stop all of your scheduled posts and go into “crisis control” mode. A crisis is not the best time to be marketing and promoting your products. Your ultimate goal in this mode is to overcome the roadblock and try to appease the angry customers or fans.
3. Acknowledge the situation
Social media is an effective tool for communication and brand awareness. It creates a customer-base that is dedicated and can increase your reach by post-sharing and mentions. In a crisis situation, you need to work in the interest of full-disclosure and let your audience know that you are aware of the problem. Or better yet, if you know how the fix the problem, make the customers comfortable by stating that very fact.
4. Social crisis action plan
Letting your audience know that you have acknowledged the problem is a good thing, but the problem still remains unsolved. Now it is time to find a solution to the problem. You need to formulate a full-fledged plan to overcome the problem as soon as possible.
5. Keep the team in the loop
The customers are not the only group of individuals you need to prompt about the problem, there is also the general management and executive committee. It is crucial to inform them of the problem, so they are not kept in the dark. If they are kept in the dark and they are asked questions by some external party about the whole problem, the problem can escalate into something much worse.
6. Be quick and thorough
When faced with a problem, the best approach is to find a solution as soon as possible. It is imperative here that you keep aside your perfectionism and find a solution that is lean and minimalistic. You need to consider all the facets of the problem and work on them quickly. This part is really tricky because you will have to walk a thin line between “speed” and “sloppiness”.
7. Frequent updates
The concept of full-disclosure cannot be stressed enough in a crisis situation. Social media posts move relatively fast and “expire” quickly when it comes to reaching which is why you should keep your audience in the loop and keep them updated.
8. Reply to concerned audience members
If the problem is solved or is almost under control, you will need to reach out to the people who were legitimately concerned about the brand’s social media crisis. Reaching out to dedicated audience members is an important part of ensuring effective customer relationship management. However, do not waste your time on trolls, but identify the individuals who were concerned about the problem.
9. Create a ‘Hub’ on your website
You can create a central hub when you are facing trouble in your social media management. The “hub” is the place where people can go for getting information and updates about the problem. It could be a social-post thread or a blog-post thread that you can constantly update as you get more information. You need to keep your valuable customers in the loop at all times during the crisis and creating a central hub is the best way to do that.
10. Let things settle down
The whole process of solving a social media crisis is being “social” about the problem. When you have solved the problem and gone through the process of disclosure, you need to just let the dust settle. The whole topic must exist only in memory and is only spoken about when asked by the audience.
In 2018, social media crisis management has become a necessary for companies and brands. It is better to have a crisis mitigation plan in advance to avoid a chaotic situation later.
Author: Qurat-ul-Ain Ghazali is a system engineer who is passionate about anything related to digital marketing and writing. Right now, she is the Content Manager at Dynamologic Solutions, an IT company that excels in the development of web and mobile app solutions.