Having social media crisis plans in place may make or break your brand. You never know when adversity will hit your company, and like most things, it is always best to prepare for a crisis and situational blowback.
One of the key points to remember is whether or not your brand is facing a “bad situation” or a full blown crisis. The difference between the two typically have to do with the legal impacts of what is going on. Nevertheless, having a social media plan in place to execute is paramount. This small slice of digital marketing will pay dividends in the long run.
There are three components to all crisis: legal, corporate. and personal. When creating a social media plan, keep these three components top of mind. Here is how Trinity Web Media prepares its clients just in case of emergency.
As always with any proper procedure document the process and execute accordingly. Once the situation has resolved itself debrief key staff and brand stakeholders with the results.
1. Always be listening: Make sure you are in tune with active social listening devices, so you know what is being said about your brand and by whom.
2. Determine the severity of the situation: Is the crisis’ root coming from a customer’s negative reviews, an employee or product. Was someone else harmed? How did your company adversely affect others? Was their damage to property or worse? Assessing the situation will help you see exactly the level of severity of what is happening.
3. Consult Legal if necessary: If your company has corporate counsel it’s always best to engage them sooner rather than later.
4. Acknowledge the situation: Turn to your social channels and acknowledge that you are aware of what is happening. It’s best to get in front of issues sooner rather than later. Never turn a blind-eye to what is going on. Turning a blind-eye is a sure way to turn a situation into a crisis.
5. Empathize with affected parties: Everyone wants to be heard and everyone feels a need to be listened to. Many problems are solved by understanding where other people’s point of view.
NOTE: Acknowledging and Empathizing is not an admission of fault. By the contrary displaying these emotions show the public the brand in human and you care about your customers.
6. Take it offline: Whenever possible, after displaying empathy and acknowledging the problem try to take the resolution offline. There is no reason to resolve problems people have with your company or products in the public eye.
7. Stop posting like content: If your crisis refers to a certain widget you promote or sell via content give it a rest for a while. There is nothing worse than seeing a bad product or service is still actively being promoted during crisis.
8. Address the problems and make corrections: Once the crisis is resolved and situation averted, let people know in an honest, non-PR manner that the challenges were addressed and you look forward to moving forward.
This plan, while simple, can prove to be a make or break strategy for your company. For more on Social Media Crisis plans head over to Convince and Convert and read their in-depth plan of action.