Tips for managing a social-media crisis.
Although the world of social media can be an extremely positive place for businesses, from time to time, a crisis may arise that has the potential to undo all of the hard work you’ve put into developing your brand’s good name.
As the saying goes, it takes a lifetime to build a reputation but seconds to destroy it and handling a negative situation badly on social media is one way to put the nail in your reputation’s coffin.
These crises can occur at anytime, day or night making it essential for your business to know how to handle them at the drop of a hat. So, to help you feel prepared, we’ve listed out some of the most important tips for managing a social-media crisis below.
1: Find out exactly what’s going on
Before you can start to do any kind of damage control you will first need to quickly and accurately establish what the problem is.
One of the best ways to do this is to find out if there are any hashtags that your customers are using to vent their frustrations and to begin monitoring them. Apps such as TweetDeck are great for this as they allow you to set up columns with particular hashtags, search terms or user profiles that update in real time.
You should also get a good idea of the issues that have been raised in any Facebook comments and messages. Make a note of the main problems your customers are raising as this will help you to construct an accurate and informative response.
2: Act quickly
One of the biggest mistakes a business can make is to take too long to respond to an issue affecting its customers. Because of the immediacy of social media, your followers will become irate very quickly should you delay in updating them. They don’t care if it’s the weekend, Christmas or after 6pm, they want a response ASAP.
The very first thing you post should always be an acknowledgement that you are aware of the situation. You should also always aim to be as transparent as possible and update your customers as soon as you have any new information. Burying your head in the sand and hoping it all blows over is not the way to approach things.
3: Keep calm
It can be an over-whelming experience to be inundated with hundreds of negative tweets and comments but it’s important that you keep your cool. Getting into an online argument with a follower is never a good idea. You need to remember that they are angry for a reason and are looking for somebody to blame. Let them vent their frustrations and always be respectful and empathetic in your responses.
4: Stay in control of the conversation
Making sure your voice is heard during a social media crisis is key. One of the best ways to do this is to prepare a press release or blog post answering some of your customer’s most pressing questions and upload it to your website. Doing this will make communication with your audience much easier as you can simply give them the link to your statement.
Another good idea is to try and take the conversation offline as this will help avoid any further negativity in the public domain. You can do this by asking customers to email you directly so that you can help them with their problem.
You may also find that many people will be asking the same questions. Read through all of the comments prepare some generic responses to the most popular and pressing ones. However, you need to be careful not come across as if you are just copying and pasting replies.
5: Don’t be afraid to admit an error
Your immediate instinct when faced with a problem that you created may be to try and cover it up. It can be daunting to admit an error to customers, nevertheless, they will definitely appreciate your honesty far more than any attempts to deny your wrong doing.
You can be sure that if you have done something wrong, and it becomes public knowledge after you have denied it, your reputation might never recover. People understand that mistakes happen and accepting responsibility is the first step on the way regaining your customer’s trust.
If you would like to learn more about planning for a social media crisis please contact a member of the TravelMedia.ie team.