3 Steps To Manage A Social Media Crisis
In the last ten years, social media has changed dramatically, and so have its users. Our Account Executives at Plexxie receive daily training on how to handle social media issues. We manage people’s expectations, interests, and emotions for a brand when we handle social media. We can all agree that people are more conscious of […]
Jan 13, 2023
7 mins read
In the last ten years, social media has changed dramatically, and so have its users. Our Account Executives at Plexxie receive daily training on how to handle social media issues. We manage people’s expectations, interests, and emotions for a brand when we handle social media.
We can all agree that people are more conscious of social issues now because the information is so easily accessible online. The numerous consumers we have today, who are more aware of these issues, can result in social media crises. In order to better understand our audience, we must become informed on these issues and learn how to promote and enforce greater social consciousness. What transpires, though, if we misjudge our target audience and damage our brand?
Here are some tips Plexxie has learned from being in an agency on handling social media crises.
What Is A Social Media Crisis?
A social media crisis can be defined by how your brand on social media platforms can be viewed negatively from either activity done by the brand or another user. Hence results in the loss of trust, support, and legitimacy for the brand or business.
Identifying A Potential Crisis First
The last thing we want is for our audience to leave negative comments on our brand, or worse, boycott. Many trigger points may provoke mayhem on your page, and understanding some common topics can help you avert a crisis even before it happens.
Insensitive or out-of-touch content
It is outrightly wrong to degrade a group of people or another person in general. Insensitive comments such as racism, sexism, religion, and political views, some to name the least, are comments we should deviate from. Such remarks can be amplified when it comes from a brand.
Case in point, in 2016, New Balance took a politically toxic take when the brand inadvertently became unofficially endorsed by white supremacists. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, New Balance’s VP of Public Affairs, Matt LeBretton, voiced his support for the incoming Trump administration when asked a question on his views on the doomed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal.
(New Balance political take tweet source Fashion Network)
This prompted hundreds of former customers to post images of their New Balance shoes in the trash on social media.
Not being aligned with what you advocate from many years back to today, can also provoke your audiences. A case when American Airlines decked their plane with rainbow-colored paint, in support of the LGBTQ+ Community during PRIDE month, quickly became hackled when they were called out for making donations to anti-LGBTQ organizations.
(LGBTQ+ Support Tweet source American Air)
Poor Employee Behaviour
The way a staff behaves with their customer is a representation of the brand’s image. It is easy for anyone today to record and upload an unruly or rude staff on social media and can make it go viral within minutes.
Hotel Boss became viral back in 2017, for many complaints by patrons of poor customer service by their very own manager. Several netizens have rated the hotel poorly on social media and have singled out the staff at the hotel for having poor customer service. There were accusations of customers being ignored and were hurled offensive racist remarks.
(Hotel Boss 1 Star Review source The Independent News & Media)
Product or customer dissatisfaction
Receiving a backlash due to dissatisfaction with a product or a service that was promised by the brand can lead to distrust by the consumer. It may lead to consumers posting their unhappiness on social media.
The Three Steps To Overcome The Crisis
No matter how cautious you are, there is always the potential for a social media crisis to happen. The good news is that a social media crisis is not the end of a brand’s reputation. Bouncing back, and your response is crucial to turn that sullied reputation back around.
Here at Plexxie, we practice social listening in social media management to always keep a look out for any heat that is coming our way, we then assess the situation before deciding on the next course of action. Our rule of thumb in managing social media crises is decided by 3 steps.
Step One: Preparation Is Key
It is vital for any brand dealing with social media, to have a policy or guideline to be prepared for any situation.
We cannot always predict a disaster that is about to happen (unless experienced firsthand before), however, you can continually formulate an effective crisis communication plan. Being kiasu never meant so important.
Our crisis communication plan includes:
- Reacting efficiently and calmly based on a carefully curated plan that is updated regularly as new social media features/new social issues arise.
- Predict how each content we post up may escalate the wrong way and formulate a structured response that can help put the brand in a good light.
- Conduct crisis management practices with each other by setting case scenarios
- Have drafted crisis management messages and statements readily based on different social media platforms as well as a prepared message for your clients, if you are working in an agency like us!
- A guideline for identifying the type as well as the scale of the crisis
- Up-to-date contact information for critical staff members/clients.
Step Two: How To Handle A Potential Crisis
When faced with a crisis, we have to be clear about our intended actions and make sure the audience is on the same page.
We manifest the Golden Rules of Crisis Communication:
- Respond promptly according to the crisis communication plan. Apologise if you are in the wrong and explain to clarify any misconceptions.
- Have a one-voice principal. Always have a unified and consistent voice when responding, hence, it is important for everyone to be on the same page and be updated on the scenario and how we tackled the issue.
- Take visible measures to address the problem and be accountable. Always provide a better solution.
- If handling a client’s brand, ensure that everything is being well taken care of. Act on it immediately and keep them updated on the measures taken.
Step Three: Reputation Repair And Post-Crisis Phase
It is always good to learn and reflect after a crisis and have the team give insights on their situation. It allows the brand to grow and learn as well as for everyone on the team to grow as a person, understanding how their target audience work.
We take the reflection in these steps:
- Identifying the negative factors and outcomes
- Drawing any thoughtful conclusions from the crisis. The more perspective the better.
- Update the communication plan with the newly arisen crisis and provide the solution or any other better solutions to further stabilise the affected reputation and salvage the brand’s image.
Everybody makes mistakes, everybody has those days. Everyone can’t have a perfect brand voice when using social media all the time. Though social media can be stressful at times, it offers us an experience with powerful lessons. It is important for us to always improve as we move together with the ever-changing tide in the social media industry. Be quick and transparent. It humanises the brand and allows your audience to relate to your brand even further showing that you truly care about them. Eventually you will gain back the trust that was lost shortly.
With these tips, we hope that you can prove to your audience that you are willing to go the extra mile and you are the brand that they think you are, building a better social media presence.