Social media is an important part of any media plan. It has the potential to exacerbate issues or complaints, but the speed at which you can address bad news has the power to deescalate a situation more quickly and efficiently than any other other media.
- Stay calm. You have a Crisis Plan in place for this very reason. The type of situation (personnel behavior, financial announcement, a negative review, product recall/availability) will determine who needs to be looped in and the types of messaging needed. If you do not have an organizational Crisis Communication Plan, number 7 needs to be Create a Crisis Plan.
- Respond quickly. Taking your time is not an option. The longer you take to address the news, the longer other organizations or individuals have to control the narrative. 53% of Americans say they get news from social media and crises can go viral internationally in as little as one hour. Reply swiftly and with one voice to ensure that your communications remain consistent across all communication platforms.
- Be honest. Bad news is bad news. Don’t try to deny it or ignore it. Being honest (when feasible and in line with compliance obligations) is the best way to connect with your audience and to keep their attention long enough to convey the second part of your message–what you are doing about it. Here are a few examples of how insincere responses can blow up.
- Move conversations off public to private. Yes, your brand is posting publicly about your news, but conversations resulting in this communication should be moved to private spaces as soon as possible. This allows you to address concerns, respond to criticisms and answer questions in more depth than you may feel comfortable doing in a public forum. It also prevents a negative snowball effect.
- No “business as usual.” Crisis management preempts any and all “normal” social media posts. Your brand does not want to be perceived as trying to sell or gloss over the news with tone deaf posts. Pause scheduled posts to allow them to be reviewed for appropriateness. The duration will vary depending on the severity of the situation.
- Listen. This may seem like an obvious one, but it isn’t. Having a crisis plan in place is a necessary and essential tool, but it doesn’t mean that your organization has anticipated all possible reactions or points of view. Your audience will speak to you; it’s your responsibility to listen and learn.
If you’d like a deeper dive into Crisis Management, consider signing up for Using Social Media In Your Crisis Communications Webinar or contact us at Troupe@aJuxt.com. In the meantime, may your fingers be swift and your crisis plan be comprehensive.
Written by Cristin Burns || Amazon Specialist & Social Media Maven