Brands are given little to no time to prepare for a social media crisis, which has changed traditional crisis management strategies significantly. With its ability to spread news rapidly across a multitude of platforms, it can be difficult to control. Social media can exacerbate the problem at hand, but through proper planning, social listening and effective communication, you can minimize the damage. Whether you’re a large or a small brand, PR News’ Book of Crisis Management offers tips on how your organization can prepare:
1. Monitor owned and non-owned social media
Brands should monitor their owned and non-owned social media daily to allow more time for crisis preparedness. Non-owned social media includes blogs, message boards, forums, and any other platform your company does not own. These are places are often overlooked when battling a social media crisis. It’s best to set up alerts and other listening tools to notify you of any updates, especially when your brand is mentioned beyond the channels you own.
2. Keep an eye on your competitor
Monitoring other brands’ social media channels within your industry can act as a precedent for an impending crisis. This gives your brand the opportunity to see questions and comments from users, which can help you develop the appropriate responses. Observing what worked and didn’t work for them can guide your strategy.
3. Prepare your responses
Create a list of the questions you anticipate receiving and prepare the responses in advance. The midst of a crisis is not the time to be figuring out key messages. Have these responses already approved so that no time is wasted.
4. Halt non-crisis related social media
Once you’ve determined that your brand is in a crisis, the first step is to stop publishing all unrelated content for the duration of the crisis. Carrying on with regularly scheduled content could make your brand seem tone-deaf and insensitive. While this may mean temporarily blacking out your social media, it is necessary until you’re fully prepared to handle the crisis.
5. Assign roles before the crisis
Establish a crisis management team and ensure that the organization’s mission and values are understood. Assign who monitors social channels, writes the responses, approves the responses, and publishes the responses. It’s also in your best interest to brief senior leaders with statistics and examples on the risks the brand could encounter on social media.
Keeping track of engagements, mentions, demographics and other key metrics can serve as a guide for your next potential crisis. Looking for a PR team that plans ahead in order to minimize damage? Contact or stay social with us! We’re just one call, like, follow, retweet, and DM away.