Social media is being touted as a marketing nirvana, but it can also be your worst nightmare.
Think of social media as a massive amplifier — you can no longer ignore events, take days to approve a response, or pretend it doesn’t exist.
Here are four strategies that will help you navigate any crisis on social media.
1. Plan Ahead
Map out social media plans for different types of problem situations. Think of the worst possible scenarios your brand can face and then amplify them by the number of fans your page has.
Obviously, you can’t predict events, but rather set up a framework for action. Decide who to contact first, who has final approval, who acts as the back-up, and who will be responsible posting, moderating, and communicating with fans during a crisis.
Once this plan is fully fleshed out, make sure everyone on the social media, public relations and marketing teams are briefed on how things will work in a crisis.
2. Be Timely
Social media moves very quickly. Problems can snowball even quicker, and some fans will jump on a bandwagon before they even read through the issue at hand.
As soon as you are aware of a problem, refer to your social media plan immediately. Get a statement approved and post it as fast as possible in an effort to address concerns as soon as they arise.
3. Be Transparent
Honesty is critical when it comes to communicating with fans who are upset. Feeding them canned or insincere responses will not go over well.
So if you don’t have a direct response to the issue at hand, it’s okay to let the fans know you’re listening and that you’re working on getting them answers.
4. Be Persistent
It may take more than one update to calm the troubled social media waters.
Respond individually to users who have interacted with you directly.
Continue posting your crisis statements and any news of any actions you may have taken to address the issue at hand.
Of course, at some point, you must resume your regular operations, but wait until the crisis is settled from your end.
Unlike traditional crisis management, which typically requires many procedures and approval processes, with social media you have to be ready to create content immediately. Don’t let this scare
you; just be prepared.
Guest writer Lauren Friedman is the community management supervisor at Context Optional.