What Is Your Social Media Crisis Plan?
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.
~ Sandy Waggett, Owner
Some things to consider when writing your crisis plan and
developing your policies:
DO NOT CENSORDo 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 OFFLINETry 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 TONERemember, 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 APOLOGYThe 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 PAGEWhen 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 EACHChannels that should be on your list:
~ Sandy Waggett, Owner