What Do You Do When Your Business Faces a Social Media Crisis?

A Plan for When Things Go Wrong

It sounds like a doomsday to be avoided at all costs, but the reality is that every company needs a crisis plan for if this day comes.  

What is a Social Media Crisis?

A social media crisis is an event that harms the image of a business, brand, or individual. It can occur offline and then spread through social media channels like wildfire with contributing users’ voiced opinions, comments, and individual shares, intensifying the severity of the crisis. Examples could include embarrassing images, inappropriate employee behaviors, an influx in negative opinions, insensitive comments, etc. Essentially a crisis could be caused by anything that can potentially ruin a reputation, so it is crucial to be prepared for when this problem arises.

How to Be Prepared in Case of Emergency

In social media management, the marketing team should include some of the below techniques when handling a crisis.

  • Secure all social media accounts.

We all know the great fun a hacker can have once he gains power into a social media account. Weak passwords, scams/phishing attacks, as well as vulnerable third-party applications are all easy ways a hacker can gain access to a company’s social media account and expose the brand to a crisis. If you suspect any strange activity, change the password to all accounts.

In addition, the more people that are trusted with account passwords, the greater the chances are of the account information leaking. Only share passwords to those who are necessary for managing the social media account.

  • Invest in a social media listening tool.

Various applications such as Sprout and BrandWatch provide social listening that tracks company-related mentions and conversations across all platforms. Social listening tools monitor and analyze keywords, mentions, competitors, virtually anything related to your company and suggests ways to use this information to its benefit. It allows the company to track how people feel about the company throughout different time durations or based on various campaigns. Through social listening, a company can catch a potential crisis before it occurs.

These applications also allow the company to engage with consumers directly, enabling companies to see which posts are more favored by customers.  

  • Implement a social media policy.

A social media policy is a document that sets out the rules and guidelines for the company’s social media usage. It can address which channels they are to use and how the company and its employees should portray themselves online.

Suggested details in the policy should include security protocols, guidance on how employees should behave on social media, standards on how the company should comply with the law (copyright guidelines, privacy guidelines, confidentiality guidelines, etc.)

The policy should be clear and direct so that there is no room for various policy interpretations.

  • Choose which “crisis” is an actual social media crisis.

Not every rude comment that comes across your company’s account is a crisis. Negative comments are all over social media channels. A progressive wave of rude comments could lead to a social media crisis, but one comment will not.

  • Respond as quickly as possible when a crisis occurs.

The sooner the team can sort out the controversy spreading through the channels, the more quickly you can resolve the problem.

Responding quickly and efficiently is vital. Having a vetted pre-plan with efficient and practical steps of action to take, depending on the crisis, will set your company up for crisis management success. Dependent upon the predicament, proper responses could be removing a particular post, providing a genuine apology statement, acknowledging to consumers that there is a problem and implementing the best course of action for the time being.

Brands should engage a brand reputation firm before dealing with a crisis to mitigate the potential of a negative online reputation and help ensure rogue comments don’t derail a company’s good work. Consumer Fusion, a leading software company, specializing in online reputation management, can automatically respond to Google and Facebook reviews, manage social media content and remove fake reviews when necessary. Using a reputation management service helps you track your brand’s online reputation and be proactive about mitigating potential issues.

The best way to prepare for a potential social media crisis is to learn from an expert in tune with the changing social media scenes. If your company needs insight on preparing for a social media crisis, contact us at info@inklinkmarketing.com or call us at 305.631.2283. Ink Link Marketing will help you prepare for unexpected PR catastrophes or is here if you need crisis responses right now. With our innovative solutions, creative thinking, and top-notch account management, there is no doubt that we will be able to help you prepare for a potential crisis on all digital platforms.

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