A social media crisis can happen to your company at any time. If it can happen to the big boys and girls, it can happen to you. No one is immune these days from direct attacks, or even slander, hacking and worse. Are you prepared for a social media crisis if it is launched at you? Will your business, your brand, survive?
- The first thing needed is a proper definition of “crisis”. You or your team or agency is dealing with negativity at your social media platforms likely on a daily basis. That isn’t something to get too unnerved about unless the negativity is going unchallenged and unanswered. A crisis is going to be something your company did or said that is perceived as having a negative impact and the negative reaction to it will be known by your community or region. Maybe even on a national or international level. This is something you must address and address quickly and effectively.
- Even if your brand is not at fault, your brand can take a huge hit both in public good will as well as financially if the crisis is not attended to right away. Social media is full of trolls who have nothing better to do with their lives than to cause pain and to insult and seek destruction whenever they can. One thing that can plague you are your employees. Earlier in 2016, Kitchenaid discovered that an employee had made a hugely derogatory comment out on Twitter about President Obama’s dead grandmother. The backlash for the company was horrendous even though the tweet was deleted and the president’s family properly apologized to. There are loose canons everywhere if you are not careful.
- You must have a social media team in place, regardless of the size of your company, to handle all of the day to day operations especially the comments with negative impact. Forget the content writers or your nephew who has a Facebook page. You need skilled sales people in these positions. They know how to do damage control. They know how to sell. They know how to make the company look good. If not, then train someone from every department to handle their particular departments and sections of your overall social media efforts. Have them work with your sales team to develop the true skills they will need. Also, if you have experienced PR people, lean on them also.
- You must have a central message that needs to get out about your brand in case of such a social media emergency crisis. Everyone, that means everyone, needs to know it like they know the lines to their favorite song. It is your song. Everyone needs to be able to sing it. Practice it so everyone knows what is expected of them when the time comes. Also, document everything that happens during the crisis and have hard copies of the response plan everywhere they may be needed.
-Written by Kevin Sawyer