If you are like me, you check social media several times a day. You probably follow some of your favorite brands on your favorite social media platforms. Social media has become a valuable asset for companies to communicate with consumers and extend their reach. With that being said, social media crises can happen easily. A tweet can be misinterpreted or a post can send the wrong message. Knowing how to manage a social media crisis is imperative in public relations. Here are eight tips to effectively manage a social media crisis:
Recognize a crisis
Negative tweets about your company or damaging comments on a video your company posted do not constitute a social media crisis. A social media crisis has the potential to impact your company in an undesirable way—on a large scale. If you see something potentially harmful to your company on Twitter or Facebook for the first time as the public is seeing it, you need to prepare for a crisis.
When you realize that you are in a crisis situation, your company needs to acknowledge that something has happened; this needs to happen quickly. This step is crucial, even if you don’t have answers as to why or how something has happened. It shows the public that the company is aware of what has transpired.
If the problem warrants it, an apology can make a significant difference in a crisis situation. The key to this step is being sincere and not making light of the problem that has occurred.
Respond on the same platform where the crisis broke
Since this is where the company’s crisis first made headlines, it’s important to respond on the same platform when you have information. This is where your audience will look for information first. After posting here, then respond on other platforms that have also had buzz from the crisis.
Lying to the public about what happened can only make the crisis worse. Trying to cover up the situation will make it seem as though the company is ignoring the problem and does not care about their customers. If a company makes a mistake, they need to own up to it.
The rule of 3
Never send a third reply, as it is seen as an argument. Say what needs to be said to inform and answer questions in one response. Starting an argument will generate more negative views.
Keep all employees informed
Each employee represents your company, and could be asked to speak about the crisis at any time. You want your employees to have the correct facts so that your company is a unified front.
Learn and recover
After the crisis is resolved, you need to reflect on what created the crisis. Take this knowledge and use it to prevent a crisis from happening again. Also, reflect on what your company did well in resolving the crisis. You cannot always prevent crises from happening, but you can prepare and learn how to manage them when they arise.
*** Information from Convince&Convert
Gabrielle Coy is currently a freshman at Waynesburg University, pursuing a public relations degree. Gabrielle is a general body member of Waynesburg University Public Relations Student Society of America, an account coordinator for Red Brick Communications and is also involved with the Mad Anthony Yearbook. Gabrielle hopes to pursue a career with a nonprofit organization or work in crisis communication post graduation.