Social media crisis management

What is social media crisis management?

Crisis management is the handling of a situation that grows to alarming proportions on social media and that can have serious consequences for the brand.

A crisis is a big deal. Whether it’s triggered by traditional media or a wave of online comments, a crisis occurs when your platforms are under assault.

In the event of a crisis, stop (almost) everything! To manage the crisis, we interrupt, among other things, pre-scheduled posts, ongoing ad campaigns and current promotions. A crisis is an emergency and the number one priority. It’s time to deploy all resources.

Fortunately, proactively and effectively managing your social channels can quickly diffuse the situation, answer consumer concerns and even turn defectors into ambassadors. A well-managed crisis can actually make the public more sympathetic to your brand!

When you sense a crisis may be brewing, the first step is to hit pause, put things into perspective and look at the situation objectively. One negative comment doesn’t constitute a crisis. But 100 negative comments on the same post, especially when it’s coupled with mentions in traditional media, definitely is. To react in an effective way, you have to assess whether the crisis is small, medium or large in scale.

Why do you need it?

When you need it… you’ll know it! If you feel the situation is getting out of hand, it’s time to consult an agency who knows how to handle it.

When you anticipate news coming out that could impact your company’s reputation in traditional media, or if you feel your page is being bombarded with negative comments, it’s time to get serious and act quickly before the situation escalates.

In the event of a crisis, a brand’s biggest fear is the negative impact it will have on the company, its reputation and, as a result, on sales in the short, medium or long term.

Stay calm, even in a crisis. Knowing you have specialists in your corner to manage your social accounts during a crisis is a huge relief. Freed from this burden, your brand can reach out to other collaborators in the field and limit the damage.

Count on our seven years of experience in crisis management. Daily community management is the best way to prevent a crisis before it happens. A crisis often occurs when consumers misunderstand a message, or when incorrect information is shared. A crisis often escalates when the company fails to be proactive.

Respond as quickly as possible, while still being strategic. The first criticism companies often face is that they didn’t respond to concerns sooner. This sows doubt in people’s minds and leads them to believe the brand has something to hide. But keep in mind that acting early doesn’t mean acting quickly at any cost. It’s imperative that you take the time to figure out the best steps to ensure a positive public reaction.

Prevention is better than cure

Almost 70 percent of consumers have used social media to make a complaint or solve an issue.. When you report a problem to a company, you expect a response, especially when the comment is negative.

With proactive community management, a crisis can often be prevented by dealing with comments as soon as they’re posted, before the situation escalates. In cases where companies responded to a negative comment, 46 percent of consumers said they were satisfied with the response, and 22 percent even posted a positive comment about the brand!

How does it work?

It takes a team to manage a crisis. We work closely with the client to switch into full damage control mode. Just a few of those called upon include a PR specialist, an experienced community manager and key members of the client’s marketing team. Other collaborators may be added to the team, too, depending on the scope of the crisis and the resources available.

  1. Review the mandate and analyze the situation
  2. Compile articles, mentions and comments (press review)
  3. Propose key messages
  4. Figure out responses to the comments
  5. Manage social networks closely until things return to normal

Pro tips to manage a crisis effectively

Hit pause on all existing and planned short-term activities. You need to show that you’re listening.

Quickly communicate relevant information to your community. Even if you don’t have all the answers, it pays to be proactive.

Deliver clear messages and create a good FAQ section. Plan for interactive FAQs that are updated in real time.

Be transparent. There’s no shame in not having all the answers upfront. It’s perfectly normal in an emergency situation that you may not have all the information right away. Don’t have the answer to a question? Say so, and let your followers know that you’ll do your best to answer them as soon as possible.