Did you accidentally post an ad with the wrong caption? Or you forgot to mention the correct date for your product launch?
These can be insignificant errors and rectified easily unless you suddenly find yourself surrounded by a sea of negative comments and publicity which threatens to destroy your brand image and break your customer’s faith.
These days anybody can express their opinion publicly on social media, which has heightened sensitivity and the chance to get offended. That is why a social media crisis should be managed delicately with utmost care.
A single misplaced move can have catastrophic effects on your brand’s reputation. You will have to be prompt and meticulous with damage control.
A well planned and executed social media damage control can not only avert the crisis but also get you back into the limelight.
Thorough preparation is of prime importance when it comes to social media crisis management. However, the first step would be to identify the social media crisis.
The sooner you can identify the crisis, the better you can prepare to deal with the crisis. The best way to identify a social media crisis is to monitor your brand on the internet.
Start by reading an in-depth brand monitoring guide and begin using brand monitoring tools to comb through the social media platforms to find mentions of your brand.
There are some signs you can always notice when you are facing a social media crisis.
- There would be an excessive amount of negative reviews for your brand or products.
- People would get constant updates about the problems your brand is facing, maybe at times even before you.
- The magnitude of the problem or negative publicity might be getting out of your control.
In case you see any of the above-mentioned signs, it is time to batten down the hatches.
Here are a few steps you can follow in times of such crisis.
Social Media Handling Team
Even before a crisis, you must have a team in place for social media brand monitoring. The best way to manage the crisis would be to divide the tasks at hand and assign them to individual team members.
Each team member will have a different goal to accomplish. Issues like internal communications, PR, social media posts should be handled delicately and guidelines need to be set to handle each issue separately.
Having a trained social media team in place will ensure that the crisis can be contained within a short time.
Company leaders must be able to take charge and manually direct each individual to complete their job. Only then would you be able to handle the entire crisis as a team.
Do Not Publish Any Regular Content
In times of a social media crisis, it is best to put a hold on all your regular social media posts and advertisements. Content schedulers must be paused and let your staff know that they should not post anything without the knowledge of senior management.
The fresh posts you circulate for your brand should be targeted towards containing the situation. In case you feel that you need the help of your audience, you can put up a post asking for help.
Issue a Public Statement
You must acknowledge the problem immediately with a public statement on social media.
It can be a basic and plain form of a declaration that confirms that you know about the problem and that you are doing everything in your control to manage the situation and come up with a solution.
You might also issue an apology if the situation demands it. Be sincere and contrite in your apology. Trying to defend the brand or deny the accusations at this point can prove detrimental to the brand image.
Increase Brand Monitoring
Put more effort into social media monitoring for your brand. Engage brand monitoring and social media analytic tools to scoop out mentions about your brand on the internet.
Offer Open Communication
Invite your social audience to interact with you directly on a platform, preferably of a public social media handle. Use this opportunity to convey your side of the story, but do not be too defensive. Provide comprehensive details and if possible, ask for their help to provide a solution.
Learn a Lesson
Once the crisis is handled, keep records of the incident as a case study for your employees. Create brand monitoring and PR training material based on what you faced and how you solved the matter.
Keep records of the fluctuations that occurred in your website traffic during the crisis. And take steps to ensure that whatever triggered the crisis should not happen again.
No one wants to let a social media crisis ruin years of hard work put together to build a brand. But in case such a crisis occurs, ensure that you have strategies in place to identify and manage the crisis efficiently and contain the effects of such an event.
Hiring an expert to build a brand monitoring guide and suggest tools relevant for your business is a great place to start. This gives you the arsenal to identify such crises in their early stages.