How to Handle a Social Media Crisis Management – Step by Step Guide
Social Media is for many businesses the most powerful tool for their customers, clients, friends, and enemies. It can make your business more successful but just as easily cause great damage if you don’t manage your social media prudently. Your online reputation can be devastated by a malicious antagonist or unreasonable client in just minutes, but there are ways to prevent and repair these problems.
ENGAGE: Two – Way Conversations
Many business people still think that simply having a Facebook company page, a Twitter account and posting daily updates is enough. Being present on social media means being ready for multiple two-way conversations. Happy customers are giving reviews, but unsatisfied customers will use your social media for negative reviews. Worse still, malicious competitors will post hate comments. Google loves controversy and automatically detects negative sentiment. When conflict is identified, it is often thrust into high search ranking results. Even without high search ranking, people can be fickle and love gossip, unfavorable news can go viral within hours, and there it is – your social media crisis.
To protect your business and minimize damage, it is important to act fast and strategically.
#1. Act Fast
When a crisis flares up, you might be tempted to hold back and figure out the best way to handle the situation and to choose your words carefully. But those impacted by the crisis want answers, and they want them fast.
#2. Take Control
You want your business to control the crisis before the crisis controls your business. Take action as soon as possible, to minimize damage to your reputation. Make sure the answers come from you, or your organization, before anyone else takes control of the conversation; even if it is “We are investigation these allegations and the source, we will post an update very soon with our findings. If anyone has information that will help us, please email me personally at firstname.lastname@example.org” (By suggesting email, it privatizes some of the conversation, reducing available fuel for the fire).
#3. Keep it Real and Swallow Your Pride
Be brutally and unambiguously honest and don’t build a façade or use veiled language… talk about what’s really happening. Keep in mind that social media allows people to tell the truth as they see it, what they see does not necessarily reflect reality. If you are caught in what can be interpreted as an untruthful statement, the crisis will explode and it will be almost impossible to get back control.“Avoid even the APPEARANCES of wrongdoing”.
#4. Engage the Critics
When managing a crisis, you will probably have to deal with more critics. Don’t ignore them. Instead, engage in dialogue with them, as they can have great influence over your reputation. The internet gives visibility to them so deal with the critics. But beware of personality disorder indicators, such as narcissists, sociopaths, borderline personality disorders, these people can be like pit-bull terriers, they have difficulty seeing reason, and their venom can often spill over into your personal or family life if you challenge or embarrass them.
#5: Use Multiple Communication Channels
To avoid crisis escalation or misunderstandings by others, your business must not only clearly communicate, you must use all reasonable means available. People are everywhere on the internet, so also use your website, blogs and media statements to take control in those places, BEFORE the fire spreads.
#6. Plan In Advance – Encourage Dialogue
Your business might have loyal customers, partners or stakeholders who will defend your reputation. Give them space on online to express their opinions, before the crisis comes. If you encourage good reviews and statements about your business, the positive search results might outweigh the negatives. Positive content rules.
#7. Do as you Say
Besides managing the crisis well, you must deliver on your word. When you announce certain actions, make sure you follow through. Don’t do anything to make the crisis worse or to get more critic.