Warren Buffett said it best: reputations are extremely fragile, and they can be torn down in a matter of minutes. Your organization’s reputation is no exception.
In a digital world where radical transparency and high customer expectations reign supreme, your company can’t afford to miss a beat. Any crisis, even if it happens in the real world and is not related to the web, will get picked up on social and spread like wildfire. Events that could once be contained locally can now quickly snowball into a global PR issue.
What’s a brand to do? Here’s the truth: a crisis will happen at some point. There’s no avoiding it. But careful social listening, community building, planning, training, troubleshooting, and an integrated infrastructure can work together to make sure your organization is fully prepared for when it does.
Here are six steps your brand can take to lay the foundation for a strong social media crisis management strategy.
The best way to equip your team to resolve any type of social media crisis is by being one step ahead with a detailed social media crisis management plan. This includes the following items:
The importance of creating a crisis response model that outlines your brand’s process for responding to online crises. An effective social media response plan includes a system for categorizing and prioritizing issues, and details the appropriate response for each type of issue. Here’s a sample response model for the types of social media crisis levels:
Let’s keep an eye on this and see if it gets any traction. Begin some targeted social media listening and see if anything develops.
There are negative comments in social that have gained, or are gaining, traction. If your organization made a mistake or caused this issue, and an apology is called for — make it.
An immediate response is required. The impact to customers and/or the brand is high. Launch (1) a team to fix the problem, and (2) a campaign of listening and responding to let people know what you’re doing to fix the problem.
A great way to visualize your response model is through a crisis scoring matrix that outlines different criteria for different incidents. For small incidents that occur on a frequent basis – customer complaints, for example – your scoring matrix will act as a response guide. For the BIG issues, the matrix example can help you decide whether to pick up the phone and call the SVP of PR, and how quickly you should notify them.
The crises levels in your response model can be grouped under two main types: Flash Fires and Rolling Disasters. Flash Fires are your social media nightmare stories – the intern who forgot to log off the company’s account, the angry ex-employee who has access to your brand’s native accounts, and so on. These crises escalate quickly, but can die down just as quickly.
Rolling Disasters include website hacks, product failures, or compliance issues. As time progresses, updates from news outlets continue to roll in and more details regarding accountability and impact unfold, requiring you to stay on top of the situation.
The way you handle a Flash Fire differs considerably from how you handle a Rolling Disaster.
Many companies don’t assemble a designated social media crisis response team until they’ve already gone through a crisis. But that’s like building the life raft when the ship is already sinking.
It’s essential to determine who in your organization will be tasked with driving the crisis management process. Your crisis management team should include a crisis team leader (who leads the charge on all crisis response initiatives), a crisis analyst (who pulls in valuable social and web data to support your crisis response), and a community manager (who’s on the frontline of any crisis).
Next, put together a crisis contact list that includes the names, phone numbers, and email addresses of department heads and members of the crisis management team.
During a crisis, the crisis team leader will be responsible for activating different branches of this tree, pulling in more people as the crisis escalates. In addition to the main contacts, you might also want to consider having a backup person for each department. If your CMO is vacationing in Hawaii and has no access to the connected world, who will make the executive decision?
Before a big storm, there are signs. The same is true for crises. And in today’s connected world, many of these signs manifest through social media. That’s why it’s critical to have a social media platform that allows you to set up volumetric- and influencer-based triggers in a rules engine, both of which can help you detect a potential crisis early on.
If there’s a sudden spike or drop in activity around your brand, your social platform’s alert system will fire off in-platform messages and emails to let you know something is amiss.
If an influential figure – news outlet, reporter, blogger, celebrity, etc. – mentions your brand, that could be the precursor to viral content. Your platform’s alert system should monitor for these messages, as they can point toward potential viral stories.
Your crisis team leader should schedule fire drills twice a year to test the effectiveness of your crisis management plan. Not only will this identify gaps in your process, it will also help you solidify or modify roles and responsibilities, build the team’s know-how around crisis management, and enable members to work together effectively.
When scheduling a fire drill, make sure that it tests your organization’s preparedness under both normal and less-than-desirable circumstances. Your first fire drill could occur during regular business hours. The second drill, however, should take place during off-peak hours or when a key employee is traveling.
Your brand’s crisis might not happen under ideal terms, so it’s important to be prepared for anything.
Thorough planning is key to effective risk management, but it’s only half the battle. If you don’t have enterprise-grade technology with features that support social media compliance, your planning, prepping, and testing won’t do you much good.
Features like role-based permissions, single sign-on, a kill switch, support for multiple languages, and the ability to set up alerts are a must for large brands who may need to swiftly respond to a sudden avalanche in social mentions or intercept a comment that could spark a wave of negative chatter.
Also, having your monitoring, listening, engagement, reporting, and paid activities all within the same platform can boost response time, increase efficiency, and make it much easier to quickly detect and manage crises.
Developing a well-thought-out social media crisis management plan will bring resilience and preparedness to your digital presence. This is also where having a strong social community becomes even more important, as Ekaterina Walter points out:
“This is the opportunity for your fans and your tribe (people who share your point of view and believe in the same vision) to chime in and support you. In cases such as these, organic brand love and advocacy are powerful allies in defending a brand’s reputation and spreading a brand’s message.”
Also, putting a plan in place for when things go wrong will help your manage the experience of all those who interact with your brand through social. Customers will enjoy a more positive, seamless brand experience – in good times and in bad.
Digital and social platforms have transformed the way consumers interact with your brand and communicate their...
Is your brand a large retailer with thousands of locations around the globe? Or a restaurant franchise spanning...
In early 2021, Apple announced new data privacy and tracking changes within the iOS 14 release, making it clear that an...
Ce site web utilise des cookies pour vous vous assurer une expérience de navigation optimale.OK En Savoir Plus
Diese Internetseite verwendet Cookies, damit Sie die Funktionen der Website optimal nutzen können.OK Weitere Informationen finden Sie hier
Este sitio web usa cookies para asegurarnos que usted reciba la mejor experiencia en nuestro sitio web.OK Aprenda más