One of the things that we tell our prospects and clients every time we work with them, is that proactive crisis planning is key to effective social media crisis management. The reason being is the more popular you become, the more people see your messages, the more likely you are going to get hit by a hater or a troll. It’s a sign of success, so don’t be fearful, but the better you do, the more likely something like that is going to happen. Really, you want to embrace and just prepare for it.
Social Media Crisis Management Assessment
The first thing we do is look at categorizing comments. There is the good, the bad, and the ugly.
The Good Comments
The good are the positive comments that we would love to see every day on our social media profiles, and that we would love for our other customers and prospects to see. We want to make sure that we are acknowledging those folks, talking to them, and really encouraging them to continue being evangelists. Those are the people that often turn out to defend us when things go wrong.
The Bad Comments
There is the bad. We’re all human. Sometimes we (or our employees) make mistakes. There was a defective product or maybe there was a customer service issue. We want to get those issues offline quickly and efficiently – ask them to call, really take good care of those folks. Social media is very public. It has legs and can go far very fast if left unattended. We want to make sure we’re taking care of those customers.
The Ugly Comments
Next there’s the ugly, so the trolls and the haters, the people that were never going to be made happy to begin with. They’re looking to stir up trouble and they enjoy conflict. It’s okay to delete or hide comments that are hateful or threatening and it’s okay to ban those users. We want to differentiate between the bad and the ugly. The bad, really, we want to make sure that they’ve got that outlet on your social media profile to be heard, to be acknowledged, and to have their problems fixed, because otherwise, they just pop up in other places. Don’t ban or delete those types of comments. Address those, but feel free to really moderate the ugly comments.
Then, there is crisis. If you really have a true problem, there is a product recall, perhaps you’re in the crosshairs of a media nightmare, there is some PR problem. We want to make sure you’re prepared for that. First, we want to have a documented chain of command. Who can we contact? Who can we train your social media team to contact? That could be legal counsel, that could be a public relations professional, and of course, your executive leadership team. Quickly and easily, we want them to know who they can contact for great information, and we want that contact information updated regularly so that they can be very fast in terms of answering to those issues.
Managing a Crisis on Social Media
Next, we would set up a landing page. A landing page is our opportunity to really present the facts from our perspective. It makes it a little bit easier on your social media team without having to repeat the same information over and over in comments. They can quickly and easily link to that landing page from any social media profile, and make sure that they’re really answering to those issues. It’s your opportunity to really show your side of the issue, acknowledge it, say you’re sorry if you need to say you’re sorry, and provide all of that information in one nice, neat place.
We’re huge fans of fluff content, but only for crisis planning. The content that we create and that we provide through social media channels for clients, should be of value. It should be informative. It should be educational or it should be entertaining. This is the one time that you want to have some evergreen content that’s just sitting in a folder somewhere so that when you need it, you can use it. This is especially great for when you see a little skirmish, that you’ve got maybe a couple of people who are arguing and fighting. It’s not necessarily something that you need to resolve or can resolve, but it’s not pleasant either for people who are coming to your social media profile. It’s nice to have that fluff content that you can just start to post every so often, and just push that argument right on down the page.