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Speed Kills - Handling a Social Media Crisis

Speed Kills - Handling a Social Media Crisis

Nearly every time someone has a less than stellar experience, they are bound to tell somebody. With social media, they don't just vent to one person, they vent to all of their friends and followers, and in just a few seconds. If the Tweet or update catches on, it could mean bad news for your business.

With so many businesses utilizing social media to help promote their services or products, they may soon find themselves facing a real crisis. So, if you are new to social media, how are you going to prevent the problem from spiraling out of control?

Since the problem can spread quickly, you may think that jumping right into it may be the best way to diffuse the situation. NOT SO FAST! You may make the problem worse if you aren't prepared. Here are some tips to help prepare you for a backlash via social media.

1. Develop and Implement a Social Media Crisis Plan

This step is almost always overlooked by those getting started in social media. You may have a plan or strategy set for your business or sales goals, but creating a plan for handling a social media crisis will prepare you for a quick response and instill a sense of calm if you ever do run into a problem. 

2. Identify the Crisis

What is the issue? Did someone have a bad experience with a product or service? Did an employee make a bonehead move? Did someone from your leadership say something they shouldn't have? In other words, have a clear understanding of the problem.

3. Get the Facts

With news being capable of spreading so quickly, time is of the essence. However, if you haven't educated yourself on the problem, you may add fuel to the fire.

4. Address the Situation - QUICKLY

Once you are ready, address the situation. Tone is of utmost importance. Remember, you are trying to rectify the situation and offer a solution. This is where putting your customer service hat will come in handy. And don't forget time is is of the essence.

Be ready to communicate with the audience. Whenever appropriate, move the conversation to a different channel. Your Twitter conversations and comments on your Facebook wall are all public. Don't share any information you want to keep under wraps, particularly customer information.

5. Document and Monitor

Keep a track record of conversations and an ear to the ground on any other buzz.

We hope that these tips help if you ever encounter a crisis while using social media.

How have you diffused a crisis using social media? Do you have anything to add to the list?
 

Image: H. L. I. T. "Crashed Car on Czech Road 3". November 9, 2009. Via Flickr Creative Commons Attribution

Posted by Eric Garza on 11/11 at 04:26 PM in Public RelationsSocial Media

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