When things get heated on social media, everyone wants to share their opinion. This freedom of speech is important, but can be detrimental to your brand. By taking the right precautions and being prepared for the worst, you can extinguish a social media wildfire with ease. Continue reading for tips on getting a social media crisis response plan in place.
Preventing a Crisis
Taking a proactive approach can save you from scrambling in the event something happens. To stay ready be sure to do the following:
Have Social Media Guidelines in Place
One of the most effective ways you can prevent a crisis is to have established social media guidelines in place. Work with your employees to create a list of topics to avoid, language to stay away from, and media sources they should exclude from their posting. Have someone review posts as well and compare them against guidelines before scheduling.This can greatly lessen the risk of a crisis beginning in the first place.
Monitor Your Brand
Even when things seem calm, it’s important to monitor what’s being said about your brand. Doing this can help you identify any points of contention before they become a problem, and address the situation before it gains momentum.
Put a Communication Plan in Place
You have to be prepared for a crisis to happen, and getting your communications in order beforehand is essential. Lay out how you’ll communicate with your internal team and how to determine the severity of the crisis. Next, prepare some pre-approved messaging you can use for your external audience and determine who will be in charge of handling these communications. Be sure this information is well documented and easy to find for anyone in your company who may need access to it.
During a Crisis
Even with good preventative measures in place, a crisis can still happen. Here’s how to get it under control:
Take a Deep Breath
Don’t panic! Dealing with a social media crisis can feel scary, but it’s not the end of the world. Take a moment to step back, clear your head, and breathe. You don’t want to let your emotions rule your response to a crisis, so it’s important to view it with a level-head.
Acknowledge What’s Being Said, But Don’t Agree
Publicly agreeing with someone who is speaking negatively about your brand can make your brand look bad. Instead, acknowledge what’s being said and try to provide helpful responses. It is, however, okay to apologize.
Don’t Delete the Evidence
One of the worst things you can do in the midst of a PR crisis is delete comments or block users who disagree with you. People notice when this happens, and it often causes even greater backlash than before. Instead, address their concerns and offer solutions.
When It’s Over
After you’ve dealt with your first crisis, take a moment to acknowledge what you’ve learned. Think about what started the fire, what tactics worked well for you, and ways you can improve in the future. Every company is different, and sometimes strategies need to be reworked for the most success.
Don’t let a social media crisis send you spiraling. Keep these tips in mind to preserve your brand reputation and stay calm.