Time has a different dimension and a very different pace on Social Media. Once you start using it you seem to have exhausted a critical amount of time scrolling through the pages of the Internet. In a matter of seconds your brand can be one of the most loved brands, and another moment it seems to have been hit with some negative publicity. This is a crisis which doesn’t call for avoidance, but to be prepared beforehand.
What is a social media crisis?
A social media crisis is any activity on social media platforms that might affect your brand’s reputation in a negative way.
To be clear, this is often more than just the odd inconsiderate comment or a complaint from a client. A crisis is when your social media activity spurs an impulse or a flurry of negative reactions or, worse, calls for a boycott.
In other words, a social media crisis is when there’s a major change within the online discourse around your brand: an action that has sparked outrage, dissatisfaction, or doubt on a wide scale. In case left unaddressed, it might have major long-term results for your brand. To effectively manage social media crises, keep reading this guide.
Types of Social Media Crises
Any crisis does not really take place at once, there needs to be a process, a sequence of actions or events drawing on which the crisis emerges or develops. By analyzing your company’s audience and vulnerabilities ahead of time, you can make protocols for each of the following five types of crises on Social Media:
A multi-channel emergency carries the most potential for harm since it attracts the most publicity. In case a brand is managing an extreme situation—such as workplace harassment charges, product recalls or corporate impropriety—it can expect negative criticism on social media and within the traditional media.
Get ready by having a vigorous crisis management plan that’s routinely practiced and upgraded. In circumstances like these, a quick and authentic response can make all the difference. Make sure that all messages are posted not only on the company website, but moreover on any social channels that are receiving negative criticism. And though consistency in your messaging is the key, the wording ought to change so as to not seem canned.
A developing crisis in your social community does have the potential to escalate and become a genuine issue, but it can likely be diffused if handled quickly. Most emerging crises take the form of customer complaints around service issues or changes to the brand’s products, and ordinarily start on social media.
Though it may be enticing to get ahead of these complaints with a community-wide post, a one-to-one approach with the complaining clients could be a way better alternative to keep the issue from getting out of hand. Social Media Monitoring all social channels so that when criticisms rise you’re prepared to quickly tackle the specific client. This way, your company can keep being in charge of the narrative and can ensure the issue remains trivial.
Industry-adjacent crises are ordinarily emergencies by association. When a seller or competitor is encountering a social media crisis, your followers may address that company’s relationship with yours, and whether your brand knew of the issue causing the crisis.
The key here is to be proactive. While you’re checking your own social channels, make sure to monitor those of any competitors or merchants whose crises might reflect adversely on your organization. Once you become aware of such an occurrence, release explanations as quickly as possible that distance your brand from the issue, and make sure to assess any planned social posts to affirm they won’t conflict with your response.
Fake News and Misinformation
Rumors and misinformation can rapidly get out of hand, thanks to the speed of sharing on social media. Attend these as soon as possible to limit harm to your brand. You’ll need to expose any fake news, misinformation, or rumors successfully.
Social activism in itself isn’t bad. But when it influences your brand and how you are doing business, it can be harming. Activists can be eccentric and troublesome at times. Whether it’s a huge group or just a few protesting, the impacts on social media can be challenging. Couple this with a celebrity or an influencer, and you have got a different type of challenge as well.
Social Media Crisis Management Policies
Social media is a crucial aspect of modern organizational communication. While specific policies may vary between organizations and industries, there are common elements that form the foundation of an effective social media policy:
Clear Social Media Usage Guidelines
These guidelines articulate the dos and don’ts of using social media within the organization. They typically cover issues like privacy, confidentiality, appropriate conduct, and disclosure of affiliations.
Expectations for Social Media Accounts
Organizations need to define the purpose and objectives of their social media accounts. This includes specifying the target audience, content themes, and overall goals for each platform.
Parameters for Employee Postings
Employees should understand the boundaries of what they can and cannot post on social media. This includes guidelines on discussing company matters, sharing confidential information, or making potentially harmful statements about the organization.
Your Brand Voice Across Platforms
Consistency in brand voice is essential for maintaining a unified brand identity. Guidelines should specify the tone, language, and style to be used in social media communications to ensure a cohesive brand image.
Copyright laws can be complex, and employees need clear instructions on how to share and attribute third-party content legally and ethically. This helps in avoiding copyright infringement issues.
Social Media Monitoring
Social media monitoring aids crisis management by providing real-time insights into public sentiment, emerging issues, and potential crises. By tracking mentions and trends, organizations can swiftly respond to and address concerns, disseminate accurate information, and engage with affected individuals, helping to manage and mitigate the impact of crises effectively.
Stakeholder and Individual Responsibilities
It is essential to define who within the organization is responsible for managing and monitoring social media accounts. This section of the policy should outline the roles and responsibilities of various stakeholders, from social media managers to executives.
Chain of Command and Approval Procedures for Responses
In times of crisis, knowing who has the authority to respond on behalf of the organization is crucial. This section should detail the hierarchy of decision-making and approval processes for social media responses.
Some social media incidents may require swift escalation to higher levels of management or even legal authorities. The policy should outline when and how such escalations should occur to handle serious issues effectively.
With a social media crisis management plan in place, you and your organization will be equipped with everything you need to respond quickly. Start with the all-important first step of creating a better social media strategy to help lower the chances of a crisis occurring.