People of all ages using social media has presented organizations with chances for crisis communications as well as difficulties. Social media can be a useful tool for crisis management and real-time interaction with clients and staff. On the other hand, corporations are more susceptible to significant reputational harm due to the swift message dissemination through social media.
In this article, we’ll concentrate on the latter scenario—managing a problem that becomes widely shared on social media. We’ll give you a thorough primer on developing a successful social media crisis communications plan.
Building a Social Media Crisis Communications Plan
Businesses should learn from the COVID-19 epidemic that the best time to prepare for a problem is before one arises. Being proactive can mean the difference between surviving a disaster and keeping your company afloat.
Even though it’s hard to foresee every detail of a crisis, there are commonalities among all social media crisis scenarios that make it possible to create a flexible plan. Here are the top four elements of your social media crisis messaging strategy.
- Social Media Policy – Do all of your staff understand the proper and improper use of their personal social media accounts? Congratulations, you are one step ahead if you responded positively! If the answer is no, it’s time to create a social media strategy that lays out precise rules for how staff members should behave online. Many crisis scenarios are sparked by an employee’s irresponsible post. The first step in avoiding these situations is implementing a social media policy. Besides selecting the appropriate personnel.
- Escalation Team – At noon, a patient in your hospital shares a video of a nurse abusing them in the emergency room. Do you know precisely who has to be informed after hours? The first step in creating an escalation team is to list everyone who should be called in the event of a crisis. The members of the escalation team can include the CEO/owner, members of the marketing team, your public relations firm, and legal counsel, depending on the size and structure of your corporation.
- Define a Crisis – The definition of a crisis truly relies on your organisation, industry, and target market. If there isn’t a “real” crisis, you shouldn’t raise all the alarms and start crisis management procedures. For instance, a regular bad review of your product is not a disaster. A consumer being physically harmed by your product, however, is a crisis.
- Establish Your Key Messages – For crisis situations, you cannot plan precise reactions or remarks, but you may decide on your core messaging. Your company’s basic principles and brand voice should be communicated in your key messages. You don’t want to lose sight of who you are and what your clients appreciate about your firm during a crisis because things are happening so quickly.
Monitoring for Social Media Crisis Situations
In numerous client instances, our social media monitoring procedures have detected crises before the clients were even aware they had occurred. Making the call that initiates a crisis communications strategy is never enjoyable (who loves to spoil someone’s day? ), but it has also given our clients more time.
It’s essential to have a social listening tool in the modern day where internet messages and videos may go viral so quickly. There are numerous monitoring tools available, and each one has unique features and pricing ranges. You may locate a programme to help you keep an eye out for internet mentions of your business regardless of your budget.
Determining who will be in charge of managing your monitoring tool is equally crucial. Even with the most sophisticated social listening tools, negative mentions can go ignored if no one is committed to using it.
Managing a Social Media Crisis
Even the most incredible companies can go through a social media crisis. Always keep in mind that a social media disaster does not always reflect poorly on your company. Instead of taking it personally, concentrate on how you can take charge of the circumstance. These six suggestions can assist you in handling a social media issue.
- Put a Hold on Your Content Schedule – You don’t want to give your viewers the impression that you lack tone. You shouldn’t advertise your Cinco de Mayo lunch specials if a consumer is complaining online about finding a piece of glass in their food. Make sure to pause any planned programming as soon as possible. Plan to wait till things are under control before starting to post again.
- Notify Your Team – As a component of your social media communications team, you created an escalation team for a reason. Put the phone tree into action and inform everyone so they can be ready.
- Assess Damages – Examine the places where the crisis is brought up. Someone may have informed you of the situation by leaving a message on your Facebook page, but did they also check your reviews on Google and Yelp? Are they making posts in thousands-member private social media groups? To create a strategy to reduce the damage, you’ll need to know where it is occurring.
- Act Quickly, But Not Without Strategy – This could be the most crucial action to take in order to successfully handle a social media disaster. You only get one chance to express your viewpoint. Make careful to examine every facet of the crisis. What in the post is accurate? What’s untrue? How many other encounters have you had with the person? Who among the employees took part? What are their descriptions of the circumstances? Develop a response strategy after having these talks swiftly to decide on your positioning.
- Acknowledge Concerns and Don’t Argue – Even if the customer isn’t always correct, social media gives them a platform where they can convince others that they are. Your response should carefully convey your position while addressing the person’s worries. The person who had a bad experience or the group of people who are criticising you on their behalf should not be argued with. The mob mentality is definitely prevalent when there is a social media problem.
- Moderate All Channels – Once you’ve come up with a plan, be sure to put it into action anywhere the subject is discussed. This will go a long way toward ensuring that potential buyers aren’t turned off by unfavourable reviews they see when they are thinking about your brand.