There are two types of crisis management a company must understand and plan for. The first and most important is an in-house crisis. This happens when your company was either hacked, a company-held event went wrong, or employee(s) are extremely negligent in performing their duties. These episodes require a drastic change in communication. If you want to continue to have a good company status, there are steps to prepare and solve a social media crisis.
You must stop all scheduled posts immediately and understand what the crisis is. No crisis is alike, and the company must think on its feet. Next there should be a speedy initial response given, which is taken from a response plan devoted for crisis control. Learn from Abercrombie and Fitch’s fiasco, where it took them over two weeks to respond to their audience. Like from the the previous post on social media negativity, you must acknowledge the problem, apologize and devote a solution to the audience. A response plan should have a preapproved message that can be personalized to make as genuine as possible.
Once you’ve gathered the facts, make a Crisis FAQ that should be dispersed on a separate website and throughout other social media channels. This regularly updated FAQ will bring all of the crisis information into one place for the audience to find. A FAQ isn’t the ultimate solution, but it shows your audience that the company is working on fixing the problem.
Cracking the crisis code is tricky, but there is a solution. You need to fight social media fire with social media water. I know that’s cliché, but it is the truth. Go through the company’s other channels and personally respond to consumers. Depending on the crisis,make a genuine video response showing that you care, or hold an event to retract the bad publicity. This is your opportunity to reaffirm the company’s values and structure its reputation.
The second part of your crisis control plan should explain what to do during a nationwide crisis. This is how the company should react on social media to a tragedy that affects the nation. Like any crisis, stop all scheduled posts. Promoting your brand isn’t going to show that you care. Never think your company can benefit from a tragedy. American Apparel and Gap proved this when they sent insensitive promotional messages during Hurricane Sandy. Give your audience your condolences to people affected by the tragedy, and give more information. This could be links to news sites or to information on how to contribute to the cause.
A social media crisis can ultimately change your brand’s reputation. A crisis management section needs to be in the company’s social media policy. Know how to react to a certain crisis, respond and solve it.
Let’s recap on how to take control of a crisis:
- Make sure campaigns are airtight.
- Develop a response plan beforehand.
- Understand what the crisis is.
- Create a Crisis FAQ.
- Make sure to stop all regularly scheduled posts.
- Never send automatic responses, be human.
- Reaffirm company’s values through other channels.
- Keep all employees informed about crisis.
- Fight social media fire with social media water, be creative and sincere!