A Good Social Media Crisis Is Awesome!… And Other Advice.

  1. Everyone is an influencer: There are big influencers and small influencers. Small influencers are connected to big influencers. Anyone can tip the scale. So, do not ignore that silly, grammatically incorrect commentator who has only 46 followers.
  2. Every crisis is a social media crisis: It is silly to look at an issue as a ‘Social Media’ crisis. A crisis is a crisis. Any crisis that starts offline has the potential to spread online. Social Media amplifies both the good things and bad things about a brand.
  3. It usually starts on Friday’s at 6pm: You can never let your guard down. The first few hours are crucial. If spotted in time, a crisis can be contained.
  4. Beware of the enemy within: Many times a crisis is triggered off by a disgruntled employee or a well-intended but inappropriate post or comment by an untrained employee.
  5. Learn from other brands’ mistakes: There are plenty of brands that have had well documented social crisis situations. Learn from them rather than make your brand pay – Just start with a Google search of ‘Social Media Crisis Cases’.
  6. Admit mistakes. Quickly: The key to diffusing a social media crisis quickly is admitting a perceived wrong that you have done.  (Perceived is the key word here) Speed is everything. The response needs to be seen as being adequate, sincere and effective.
  7. A good crisis is awesome!: Sometimes those irksome fans are right! They may be blasting us for good reason! A social media crisis may point to real issues that need to be taken care of – and quickly – because social media is not good or bad in itself. It just amplifies the good and the bad about your brand.
  8. A good enough response is better than no response: Speed is of the essence. One round of editing is fine. It is ok if the visual is just good but not awesome. It is even all right if the tie does not match perfectly with the shirt in the video response. It is important to be ‘seen’ out there, engaging. Empower an individual with good common sense rather than a committee to manage your social media response.
  9. Don’t be shy of enforcing the community guidelines: Just like real life, you can just never make some people happy on Social Media! As long as the community guidelines are clear and transparent, do not hesitate to take the trouble makers or their comments down.
  10. Don’t forget what the brand stands for: It is very easy to get trapped into corporate or legalese while responding to comments, messages and questions. Let the brand retain the essence of what it stands for (reflected in the tone of voice) – even in a tough time.
  11. Efficiency tools for engagement: Using effective tools has brought mankind the cheap burgers, and now the iPad. There are tools that can help to effectively manage conversations and engage with fans/ community members. Use them. They range from auto publishing tools, to Q&A tools, Listening tools etc.
  12. Listen: The starting point of every good cocktail conversation is listening. Social Media is no different. Having a proper listening program in place can alert a brand early to any potential crisis and also help in tracking and managing a crisis.
  13. Take it seriously: A crisis gone wrong in Social Media space can cause irreparable damage to a brand (apart from ruining the annual profitability numbers). It pays to err on the side of caution while dealing with a social media crisis.
  14. Don’t take it seriously: Sometimes and nice joke or a witty comment can do more to diffuse a situation than a response written in legalese ever will.