10 Important Steps to Prepare for a Social Media Crisis
by Chico Orange
The idea of having a social media crisis is frightening, but luckily, there are ways you can effectively manage it and emerge successfully. We lay down the 10 most important steps to help your brand prepare for a social media crisis.
Social media crisis — as a business owner or marketer, you probably flinched at that idea. And we don’t blame you. A lot of brands are frightened by the thought of experiencing a social media crisis, and rightfully so.
However, getting a bad rep or making a slight mistake online is, luckily, something that can be managed and solved. As long as your team is fully prepared for it and is trained on the best strategies for spotting and surviving a social media or digital marketing crisis, you can emerge from it successfully and pack up a lot of lessons to boot.
How to Prepare for a Social Media Crisis
Managing and surviving a social media crisis starts with adequate preparation. Regardless of whether or not you’re on the verge of a social media scandal, act now and take these necessary steps to keep you and your team well-prepared.
Step 1: Create a Social Media Crisis Team
Most businesses do not form a crisis team until it’s too late. But trust and collaboration among team members can take time to build. Especially in the time of a social media crisis, you need your core problem solvers to work together, find solutions, and address the issue head-on.
Select key players to manage social media crises and identify their roles and levels of authority. Ideally, the members of your crisis team should have worked together in the past to ensure that they have built that rapport and cohesiveness they need to effectively tackle pressing issues as a team.
Step 2: Formulate a Concise Process
Now it’s time to outline the process of spotting, evading, managing, and solving social media crises. Lay down your plans for successfully addressing issues and redeeming your online reputation — and remember to keep it short! You don’t want to dribble the ball for too long in a time of crisis.
Step 3: Choose the Right Communications Channel
Communication is vital when managing a company crisis, so make sure that you nominate a single internal communications channel where key team members can communicate and stay on track with the crisis management process.
Step 4: Identify Key Decision-Makers
A group of people brainstorming ideas to solve a social media crisis needs to be led by people who have the authority to sign off courses of action. Identify the decision-makers in your crisis management team so that the members know who to go to for solutions, approval, and final decisions.
Step 5: Engage Traditional Media Allies
Most of the time, your brand will need help from allies and connections that you have formed. Make sure that you have traditional media agencies and outlets in your arsenal that are trusted by the public and who can help redeem your image and reputation.
Step 6: Create and Document Crisis Content
To tackle a crisis, your crisis team will need to have access to content. Make sure that these are well-documented and that the process of creating and finding content is as easy for your crisis team as possible.
Step 7: Choose a Spokesperson
You need a key spokesperson in your crisis team that portrays authority and can generate or regain the trust of your target audience. Choose someone who can take accountability and can be transparent, honest, and relatable.
Step 8: Identify Your Primary Social Media Channel
To effectively manage a crisis, you need to make and implement solutions where it is occurring in the first place. Make sure you are disseminating information in the social media channel that birthed the issue. However, it also goes a long way to be present in other platforms as well, especially the following:
- Facebook: This is where you can reach a larger audience and disseminate information as widely as possible.
- Twitter: Traditional media groups and journalists are active on this platform, helping you coordinate and communicate with old and new allies.
- Instagram: Influencers and celebrities tend to actively participate in large crises, and this is the best platform where you can reach them.
Step 9: Find Your Crisis Tone
During a social media crisis, you need to be able to resonate with your audience and empathize with them. Adopt a crisis tone that is authoritative and aligns with your brand positioning, but at the same time, your crisis voice should be honest, trustworthy, and most of all, human.
Step 10: Identify Your Success Metrics
How do you determine if the public opinion is steering in your favor or further causing damage to your brand’s reputation? Through success metrics. Identify ways or strategies on how you will measure your success in managing your social media crisis. This can be in the form of headline stats, complaint levels, sentiment analysis, or a combination of multiple metrics.
Digital marketing in the Philippines and beyond is not a straight and easy road to venture out on. There will be bumps, curves, and roadblocks ahead of you. But these can be evaded and managed with a social media crisis management plan.
Take these tips to develop your crisis strategy and pave the way for continuous growth and learning for your brand.
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