A CMO Show Blog Post
An insider's guide to social media crisis management
A CMO Show Blog Post
An insider's guide to social...

With great power comes great responsibility, or so the adage goes. Nowhere is this more apparent than on social media, where the power to influence and reach many can backfire at the touch of a button…

So, you have a crisis on your hands. Your social media is going nuts, and not in the way you want! You have a very upset public bombarding your social media channels with negative comments demanding an answer. What do you do?

1. Don’t ignore the problem.

Social media is a platform for everyone to have a voice, and you should always keep this in mind. A few simple steps can make or break your image when it comes to managing potentially damaging comments. Deleting, being untruthful or appearing to have false intentions can often do more harm than good.

Be sure to acknowledge all comments and concerns and to talk through issues with followers. Deleting negative comments, not being truthful with facts and attempting to ‘talk down’ a situation will open you up to more vulnerability as it will look like you’re trying to hide something.

Attempting to silence angry customers will also serve to frustrate them further, and thus fuel the fire onwards. You should always aim to connect with followers in a way that is open, honest and appropriate for the situation.

2. Respond immediately.

If you don’t know how to respond straight away, inform people that you’re aware of the situation and will provide more information as soon as you have it.

Also be sure to inform people in your organisation of the situation and meet with the relevant team members to develop an official response.

3. Post your official response.

An official response should do the following; acknowledge the situation, apologise to stakeholders and persons impacted, identify the actions you’re taking to correct the issue, thank loyal customers and brand advocates for their support, and promise to keep followers up to date as soon as news unfolds.

Your response should demonstrate empathy, sincerity, and honesty.

Remember: you only have one shot to get it right – so make it count.

4. Prevent it from happening again.

This may seem like common sense but it’s astounding how many companies get this wrong.

When your brand is on the line it’s hard not to become emotional, so it’s important to have your crisis management strategy in place before the crisis happens.

5. Develop community guidelines. 

This step should actually be the first but a lot of the time it takes a crisis to get you moving along the road toward having proper strategies in place. When it comes to social media, community guidelines go hand-in-hand with a crisis management strategy.

Having a detailed outline of accepted and unaccepted community behaviours and codes of conduct will ensure the power stays in your hands when it comes to dealing with difficult followers. Setting up a clearcut set of guidelines for all members of your community will also ensure you can maintain strong relationships with brand advocates if fellow commenters ever go on the attack

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