Social Media Crisis Management: How to Prepare for the Expected and Unexpected
There is an old saying, ‘some days you’re the pigeon and some days you’re the statue’. That saying fits in a variety of situations, including social media crisis management. No one wants to have a bad day and no company wants to have to deal with a situation that could negatively impact their reputation and their business. It can be scary, but there are steps that can be taken to gain control of the situation to fix any social media crisis situation.
Have A Plan Before The Crisis
The first step to any crisis is to have a plan in case of a crisis. By having a plan already set, the crisis will seem less stressful. Jonathan Bernstein, President of Bernstein Crisis Management said, “Ninety-five percent of the crises I’ve seen in my 30-plus year career could have been completely preventable with advance planning.”
Be honest with your employees, customers, and yourself about the situation. It is one of the best things you can do to help ease any tension that comes from the situation. Trying to cover up the crisis by deleting a post or negatively attacking the accuser only leads to a negative impact on the company’s image and business.
It is one thing to say and another to do. Making sure the proper steps are being taken, and communicating those steps to employees and consumers to fix the problem is key. By doing this you will earn trust with the consumer and keep employees in a positive mindset about the company.
Understand the Situation
What is the problem? Knowing what went wrong will help you plan out how to tackle the crisis and how to respond to people. You don’t want to find out there was more to the situation from the media, because then you must backtrack to recover your now damaged image. Any surprises have consumers questioning the integrity and credibility of the company.
Don’t Fight Fire With Fire
With social media today, it’s hard to avoid reading how people are really feeling. Angry customers may post very negative comments about your company. You don’t want to delete any comments, and you don’t want to reply negatively to them. It’s best to explain the situation and the steps taken. Remember a crisis isn’t fixed overnight and you must understand why people are upset. You can’t get rid of the trolls, but you can come back in an understanding and positive way that won’t hurt your image any more than it has been.
Time Is Key
The sooner you can respond, the better. The first moments of a crisis are the most important. People are watching how you are reacting and how you are dealing with the situation. You want to stay ahead of the media. You want the information to come from you, so credibility is not lost.