How to Manage a Crisis Situation on Social Media

Digital Agency Tips

How to Manage Crisis Situations on Social Media

by Organik
on June 17, 2015

4 minute read

Crisis! Crisis! Read all about it! The social media landscape is laden with the latest and most shocking crisis situation–from celebrity news to political events–on a daily basis. It’s essential that any brand using social media is aware of breaking news stories and is ready to change social posts to be sensitive to certain stories. The challenge digital marketing pros face is determining when it’s necessary to alter tweets and posts and when it’s not.

The other challenge, and we hope you never face it, is a community manager’s worst nightmare: when your brand becomes involved in a social media firestorm. Our hearts go out to every social media manager who’s experienced backlash because of a poorly timed tweet or a product review gone bad. Because of the real time nature of social platforms, situations like these become an all-hands-on-deck issue. But there are techniques to alleviate the stress of a crisis situation.

Stay on Top of Trends and Breaking News

Before posting to social media, quickly pull up local and national news to make sure that your tweet or Facebook post won’t be discordant, or worse, disrespectful in light of breaking news. You’d be surprised how many ill-timed tweets from brands received incredible backlash because a community manager forgot to check news stories. Checking the news before posting, and throughout the day, is a simple way to avoid that heart-stopping realization that your tweet has gone horribly wrong! Remember to delete scheduled tweets/posts during big news stories as well. A good community manager should be able to determine whether posts from their brand will seem out of touch or irreverent and when it’s acceptable to continue posting. Training, and I hate to say it, learning from other brand’s faux pas can help.

Have a Plan in Place for Crisis Situations That Involve Your Brand

It’s always better to be safe than sorry. Rather than assume ‘it won’t happen to me,’ put a game plan in place for who will respond and how if your brand is involved in a social media crisis. Say, for example, your company accidentally produced a faulty product and the public has taken note online. Instagram users and Twitter users alike are creating hashtags that are less than flattering. Facebook users are leaving comments under unrelated articles you’ve posted. What’s a social media manager to do?! Step one: Take a deep breath. Step 2: Remember that your company created a game plan for circumstances exactly like this. This plan should include the following:

  • Monitor the responses: Quickly review the comments about the product/service gone wrong and take note of what, exactly, the issue is.
  • Check in with your team: After you’ve gathered information, share it with the appropriate team members. These team members should have already been chosen as the team that will manage crisis situations. This team will most likely consist of a public relations professional, a customer service representative and the editorial department (the people who will issue the actual response on social media and via your website).
  • Respond immediately: As soon as you’ve alerted your team and confirmed that the issue is one that they don’t have an immediate answer to, respond, right away, to a handful of those complaining with a simple response: “We’re so sorry this happened. Please know we’re looking into this issue and we hope to have more information very soon.” If you can, alter this slightly when you respond to people so it doesn’t look like you’re simply copying and pasting the same response to everyone. But do let your concerned customers know that you care and are working to resolve the problem. Make sure you respond on all the social networks on which the issue is being discussed. This ensures that anyone who visits those networks will know that your company is committed to the consumers and is taking the issue seriously.
  • Issue a response: Once you’ve determined what the issue is, publish a blog post that clearly describes why it happened and what you’re doing about it. If your company is at fault, be honest. Apologize. Don’t blame anyone else. Humility is a good thing. Be the good guy. Share this blog post across social networks as a resource for your consumers.
  • Make it better: If you can, offer something to the people who had a bad experience with your brand or product. Offer to refund them if you can and give them something free as a gesture of good will. A crisis is often an opportunity, as strange as it sounds, to strengthen the relationship your brand has with its audience.

Learn More About This Topic: 

We discussed this topic during our #OrganikChat on June 18. The discussion featured insight from digital marketing pros, consultants, students and more! Read the transcript here and join us every week for #OrganikChat, Thursdays at 1:30 p.m. PT. Tweet to the hashtag #OrganikChat and follow @SamHosenkamp, @Nicole_Barbato and @OrganikSEO for questions.

And visit our #OrganikChat Facebook group to keep the discussion going.

If you found this information helpful, be sure to check out our post “How to Take a Holistic Approach to Your Business.” Organik SEO is passionate about helping businesses grow by tapping into the power of social media and SEO. To discuss how we can help you grow your business, contact us today.

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