What Is Your Social Media Crisis Plan?

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

If you don’t have one, it’s time to create one. Time (and message consistency) is of the essence when a social media crisis hits. That’s not the time to try to figure out what to do. You should have a documented plan already in place, with specific policies for your employees, as well as outlined steps and a checklist for managing the challenge across all channels.


Some things to consider when writing your crisis plan and 
developing your policies:


DO NOT CENSOR

Do not censor criticism or negative comments on your social media channels, unless they violate your terms or contain foul language that might offend your community. Removing criticism and complaints can quickly lead to more harsh comments spiraling out of control.

ACKNOWLEDGE & TRY TO TAKE IT OFFLINE

Try to understand what the negative commenter wants. It’s important to respond quickly and publicly, acknowledge the concern, and then take the conversation offline as quickly as possible.

BE CONSCIOUS OF YOUR TONE

Remember, it’s a human being that’s upset. This is not the time for a cold “corporate” tone or a canned message. When you respond, it’s essential that you acknowledge the issue in a personal, polite, and professional manner. Never make a rude comment back or be dismissive of the person’s feelings. Most of the time, this will only make it worse.


IF YOU NEED TO APOLOGIZE, DO SO WITH AN HONEST AND TRUE APOLOGY

The worst thing you can do is offer a guised apology, like “if we offended anyone …”, or “if we let you down …” Eliminate the word “if” from an apology. In the complainer’s mind, you did – there is no “if”. Using the word “if” communicates insincerity, not an apology. On the social landscape, people will you call you out on this, and worse yet … share it.


BE TIMELY & MAKE SURE YOUR TEAM IS ON THE SAME PAGE

When a crisis hits, that’s not the time to start figuring out your response strategy. While every instance may be unique and have its own subtleties, your overall social media crisis strategy should be documented and shared with your entire team, including management AND all level employees. When a crisis hits, the entire team is instantly in the spotlight. It’s not simply how you handle it on your business social channels, but also how your team handles it on personal channels.

HAVE A CHECKLIST OF ALL YOUR DIGITAL CHANNELS & ENSURE YOUR MESSAGE IS THE SAME ON EACH

Channels that should be on your list:
  • Website 
  • Blog 
  • Facebook 
  • Twitter 
  • LinkedIn 
  • Google+ 
  • YouTube 
  • Instagram 
  • Pinterest 
Having a well thought out strategy for dealing with a social media crisis optimizes your chances of handling it effectively and minimizing brand damage. It’s the knee-jerk actions and poorly composed responses (or lack of response) that typically gets a business in bigger trouble online. When managed properly, a crisis can even turn in to a brand win!

~ Sandy Waggett, Owner



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Phone: 877-211-5492




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