Avoiding and Surviving a Social Media Crisis
Social media has been around for a relatively short while but has brought big changes. Extreme changes is more like it. Take advertising and marketing. Social media is used by brands, businesses and enterprises of all kinds looking to get their names out before potential customers. When impact is positive, the results can extremely exceed the greatest dreams of success. But when impact is negative, extremely unimaginable nightmares come true. How then, can brands navigate a social media crisis or fallout. Furthermore, what steps can be taken to implement crisis management?
How to prepare for a social media crisis:
Technical glitches, security leaks, or even scandals of some sort. Think of something bad, and if it gets out on social media, the ripple effect is deadly. And if powerhouse names such as Facebook and Google, among others, can face fallout, any brand that’s represented on social media is at risk for a social media crisis. While there is no 100-percent foolproof safeguard against a brand’s social platform suffering from a social media crisis, the next best option is having a set crisis management plan ready to go into action should a negative situation arise. As presented by Lucy Rendler-Kaplan in “Social Media Today,” these steps include:
1. Implementing a social media policy.
Every business should have a clearly-defined and documented policy related to social media which details what can (and cannot) be posted to the platforms it has a presence on. This proactive form of crisis management ensures that every employee of the business is on the same page.
2. Using social listening capabilities.
The advent and application of social listening tools can save every business a world of trouble. By regularly checking to see what followers are posting and saying, potential problems can be efficiently handled and answered sooner rather than later, thus helping to prevent a social media crisis.
3. Having a crisis communications plan ready.
Despite all best efforts, a social media crisis can still occur. Steps to take in this situation are: Understanding internal business communications; an approval process of what to post as a response on social; pre-approved external messaging; making access to the business’ social media policy available to the public; and each department’s role in curbing the crisis. Time is of the essence, and the rules are to respond within one hour once the crisis breaks and to keep communication with the public open.
4. Practicing the pause for unscheduled posts.
If a business finds itself in a social media crisis, any posts featuring a variety of irrelevant images, sayings or memes that were scheduled to go out must be paused. The public wants to know only about what is being done to address the issues at hand and read posts that pertain to the business’ social media crisis.
5. Staying professional and poised.
One significant challenge for employees of any business in the midst of a social media crisis is to avoid letting frustration or anger come through in their responses. This only aggravates the situation further. A brief, to-the-point response acknowledging the trouble allows the business to put the above steps into action while letting any followers know the situation is being dealt with.
The phenomena of social media gives new meaning to the famous phrase written by Charles Dickens concerning “the best of times, the worst of times”: Despite best efforts to create and post the greatest possible content on social, there is also the possibility of the worst happening. The steps described above cannot guarantee prevention of a social media crisis, but they will help serve as a buffer so that backlash may be minimized.
The EGC Group is well-versed and well-equipped to help your brand maintain a strong social media presence, thanks to brand reputation management and social media monitoring, and crisis management, among other services. Want to know more? Contact us today.