Businesses may now showcase their brand and products to a wider audience in a more honest and relatable way, thanks to social media. It's never been easier to raise an organization's profile and public impression. However, it is now easy to become embroiled in a controversy that can quickly derail your reputation.
What is a Social Media PR crisis?
A crisis is an occurrence that occurs outside of your typical operating pattern. It has the potential to harm your brand's reputation in the long run. 90% of emergencies are shared on social media sites.
Stakeholders can now communicate with a brand or organization thanks to social media. It has altered their expectations for how a firm should respond. Stakeholders can observe and comment on each other's ideas and experiences, and social media allows them to do so publicly.
A crisis might start on any of these channels, not just on a company-owned site like Facebook or Twitter.
- A statement by a spokesperson
- An article in the media
- Social media influencers
- Online trolls
- Industry competitors
- How you manage customer service inquiries
Preparing for a social media PR crisis
The best form of defense is to prepare for a social media catastrophe. Furthermore, being mindful of your digital presence will aid in minimizing the consequences of any social media mishap. Here are our top recommendations for crisis preparedness.
Make use of a social media listening tool: Brandwatch and Oracle are two listening technologies that can help you understand how your brand is perceived. You may monitor negative sentiment surges in real-time to see if they suggest a problem and handle any concerns before they become more serious.
Create a social media policy for your employees: Your employees' use of social media sites will be governed by a thorough policy. This should include all expectations and standards for employees who use social media for personal or professional purposes.
Have a crisis management plan in place and a response strategy: In a crisis, you'll need to respond rapidly to keep control of your social media channels. Guidelines for reactions, employee duties, and internal and external communications will all be included in your strategy. Due to the lack of a thorough social media crisis strategy, more than a quarter of crises will go international within an hour.
Set ground rules for the community: Having a set of rules that visitors must follow. These will give them some control over the stuff they share and the actions they take. It's easier to manage members who break community rules when you have a defined policy in place.
Have a shutdown procedure in place: On a very rare occasion, an organization will have to decide whether to keep its channels open or investigate the potential of temporarily closing them. The decision to shut down one or more platforms should not be taken lightly.
Make a model of your strategy: Staff will be better prepared if you test your social media crisis plan against various circumstances. If necessary, you should make changes to your strategy.
How digital marketers and social media managers handle a crisis can be the difference between irreparable reputation damage and a salvageable reputation.
Use social media crisis management to assess if the situation is truly a crisis - stakeholders can raise challenging questions, which can sometimes turn into a debate. To avoid an overreaction, it's critical to establish what your organization considers to be a crisis.
Evaluate the scenario: How many people have left feedback? Is there a negative tone to the sentiment? Are there any significant decision-makers involved? Is there anything in the news about it? It will be easier to arrange for a resolution if you are aware of your existing condition.
Communicate, Internally and externally: You should provide transparent information comprising factual information to all external stakeholders on a regular basis. Internal communication ensures that everyone is on the same page and avoids the possibility of misinformation spreading.
Create a team of goodwill ambassadors: You can enlist the support of brand champions or influencers to help you manage a crisis. Users are more likely to trust them, and they are better able to emphasize your main points. Before each deployment, you should brief brand champions on the crisis and communications strategy.
Know when to pause: Take a break from a conversation. Conversations on social media during a crisis, as well as responses to government declarations, can become hot and emotional. Stick to the information provided and avoid dialogues or disputes that take you away from your crisis plan.
Leave the comments alone: Taking down unpleasant comments is perceived as censorship, and it gives the idea that you have something to conceal. Only content that violates your company's and platform's community guidelines are deleted.
Timely response: When it comes to a social media catastrophe, silence may not be the best policy. Be prompt with your responses and updates. Most importantly, be truthful and sincere in your comments, but stick to facts and avoid expressing emotion.
Know your spokesman: Spokespersons are your company's direct messengers. Ascertain that your public spokesman can stick to the facts and not further damage the company's reputation.
When the dust has settled on the social media issue, what happens next?
Now is an excellent time to evaluate your crisis management plan and your crisis management team's performance.
Here are some questions to consider in order to ensure that your future approach is as foolproof as possible:
- Was the strategy successful?
- What went well, and what didn't?
- What did we discover?
- Do we need to take any more steps in the process?
- What was the response from each department, and do they all seem to be telling the same story?
This is a good moment to conduct a debriefing and talk about the event. All stakeholders, as well as your crisis management staff, should be involved. Consider whether there are any more stages you should include in your approach and how they might improve it. Take advantage of this opportunity to ensure that you have a solid social media plan in place.