Do you have a game-plan in case of a social media crisis?

In our digital era, rumours and bad publicity can spread like wildfire on social media, it pays to be like a scout—always prepared. It doesn’t take much—a sewing needle in a strawberry or loss of life on your premises, even an airline passenger—for social media to ignite. And suddenly, you find yourself in the middle of a social media firestorm, without a clue how to go about extinguishing it.

There are several instances that can stir up a social media frenzy.

1. Acts of God that have a direct effect on your business (Lightning strikes, natural disasters)

2. Loss of life (Incidents like the Dreamworld tragedy can have a massive impact on your business if not handled with sensitivity)

3.Rude employees who post inappropriate things on your business page or upset customers who take to social media

4. Product fails

5. Criminal acts (Company employees involved in court cases that have gone public and blown up on social media)

First initial responses in a crisis can be to overreact and lose your shit if you’re unprepared. This is where having a plan in place will help you keep a cool head.

Strategies for various scenarios will ensure (when you’re feeling the fiery rage of Satan in your belly due to a customer dissing you on Facebook or Instagram) that you respond appropriately.

What should your social media crisis plan include?

  • Who needs to be in the know? Management, boards of directors, stakeholders, or all employees?
  • Who will deal with the comments on the social networks, direct messages and phone calls?
  • Strategies for letting your employees whether they are allowed to comment, what they can say and what happens if they speak out of turn?
  • What is the process if this issue has been discovered weeks after it’s been posted? (This is why social listening is important, people).
  • Who is in charge if the person responsible for handling a social media crisis is away sick or on leave?
  • Content creation—do you need to set up landing pages, what will your posts say?
  • How will you respond to comments?

What happens next?

  1. Familiarise yourself with the plan (hopefully, you’ve already got one mapped out for various scenarios).
  2. Act quickly. It’s important to take responsibility and apologise if you are in the wrong. Remember to include what actions you will take to prevent it from recurring
  3. Show sensitivity when dealing with negative comments
  4. Put regularly scheduled content on hold until things are sorted. For example, if you’re a hot air balloon company that’s recently experienced a crash with loss of life, you don’t want to be seen to promote early morning flights for half price, as if you’re ignoring the issue at hand.
  5. Keep your audiences up-to-date as news comes to hand. Clamming up and saying nothing will only result in speculation.
  6. Even if you’re being targeted by social media trolls during the crisis, don’t delete, hide or ignore negative comments.

If you need help setting up social media crisis plans, talk to our social media nerds today. Or if you’re currently in the middle of social media crisis (not just a mid-life crisis), we can provide advice on how to respond appropriately