We all know that a social media crisis has a potentially great impact on the business overall. Thus it is important to pay attention to it and resolve it as fast as possible. Before getting any further about social media crisis management, you have to understand that the best way to handle it is to try to prevent or at least minimize it. Furthermore, you got to be prepared before it happens. Set a plan in case worse comes to worse.
If you don’t have time to study, research and prepare for crisis, at least get someone who can to set up a crisis prevention plan for your business. Waiting for a social media crisis to explode is never an option. If you ignore it, it will likely get worse. Social media can be an asset in a crisis when used correctly, not an extra problem. Here’s what you need to do to come out on the other side of a crisis with your company’s reputation intact.
Plan Before Anything
While it’s best to plan for crisis prevention, if the crisis already exists, you must have a plan in place. Time is crucial in times of crisis but you have to take time to plan before taking any action. Meet up and discuss the ins and outs of the company and understand which strategies to use on that specific crisis.
Acknowledge The Issue
If the issue is true, you should always acknowledge it specially if the fault is in the company. Let the people know that you realize something has happened. Say sorry and mean it. People appreciate honesty and humility so you will be forgiven. As long as you take full responsibility, you will get to have the chance to redeem your glory. Time is crucial and your speed of responding is very important.
When issuing a statement, show compassion and your full commitment to the issue. Don’t be defensive, don’t justify your actions and most importantly, don’t hide from criticism. Assure customers that they’re your first priority.
Choose The Right Space
Make sure that you put together a well thought-out public statement, and share it first on the original space where the problem started. Wherever the crisis first broke, that should be the first place where you should publish your public statement. If the crisis initiated on Facebook, respond first on Facebook. Then circle around and respond in other venues that have picked up on the crisis.
Publish the Crisis’ FAQs
Create a Web page where you can put all the information about the crisis in one place. You may include acknowledgement of the crisis, details about the occurrence, photos or videos, if available, how the company found out who was alerted, when, and how, specific actions taken in response, real or potential effects, steps taken to prevent future occurrence, and the contact information for real people at the company.
Having this page will allow you to respond to questions with a link instead of typing or pasting answers every time. This saves times and prevents misinterpretation of your responses.
Preparing this landing page could take time and is very crucial so you can hire a team who knows how to manage social media crisis and have experienced making Crisis FAQs page for other businesses before.
Monitor the Crisis
After you have released a statement and also answered the questions using your FAQs page, don’t think that the job’s done. You have to monitor how it develops. Use a social media monitoring tool and check your notifications. Don’t miss on searching on the relevant hashtag. Also, keep track of all social media messages that still need a reply. Make sure that you still continuously post relevant updates via your social channels and respond directly to customers. Make sure you provide a well-crafted, rapid public response. You want to update anyone and everyone, so no one is left in the dark.
Know When to Take It Offline
Damage control is the essence of social media crisis management. Sometimes the best course of action is to offer your phone number or email address, and encourage someone to contact you that way. Remember that you can never please everyone with your responses so give a place to contact you besides your social networks.
Pause Scheduled Posts
You don’t want to give the impression that you are ignoring the crisis. Make sure all your scheduled posts are paused. People pay so much attention on sites that are involves on issues so you have to be extra careful. Do not underestimate the number of eyes on your pages. Wait until things get figured out before re-establishing regular communications. This is most important if you have a team handling you social media accounts. Make sure that you let the team know that all posts will be placed on hold.
Learn Your Lessons
After the crisis subsides, reconstruct and deconstruct the crisis. Make a documentation of what happened. You can make copies of all tweets, status updates, blog comments, and all emails. Analyze website traffic patterns and search volume patterns. Get to know where did the crisis break, and when? Where did it spread, and how? How did your internal notification work? How did your response protocol work? Did specific customers rise to your defense? Were your employees informed? How did the online crisis intersect with offline coverage? Make sure you keep a record of all these and do everything to try to prevent it from happening again.
Social media crises can easily spread, damaging your brand’s reputation within minutes or even seconds. Handling a crisis can be overwhelming, but remember that how you respond and overcome the crisis is what matters. Use social media as a tool communicate and get some good out of a bad situation. If you want to regain the trust of your customers, you’ll need to step up your game. Never be unprepared for possible crises. So if you’d like to put a customized crisis plan together for your company, Coxier Social Media Management is 100% ready to help.