Small Business Brief

Social Media

Your Guide to Recovering From a Social Media Crisis

There’s little doubt about how important social media marketing is to businesses. If you provide a service or a product, you need to advertise online.

If you’re an artist, a writer, or a musician your internet presence is so vital to finding an audience. When you market on social media, you not only market your business or creations, you market yourself.

While there is much to be gained from social media, you have to be careful. You could get sucked into a social media crisis you didn’t anticipate.

If you don’t have a plan for how to handle a crisis on social media, you better make one. Read on for tips on social media crisis management.

The Double-Edged Sword of Social Media

You’ve seen it happen so many times. Someone with even a moderate level of renown says something foolish on social media and the next thing they know they’re involved in a Tweetstorm and a Facebook boycott campaign.

You think to yourself, “how could anyone do something this stupid?”

Stupid as it may seem, it happens over and over again.

Yes, social media accounts have many great personal and professional benefits. They allow you to stay in touch with distant friends and family. They allow you to enter the national conversation.

They also amplify your business, your brand, and your art. There are so many reasons why you need a robust social media presence.

Here’s an interesting article that explains how social media advertising is like dating,

Too often, the lines get blurred. People who run businesses or make art get too comfortable with their accounts and allow their private talk to become public.

It can’t be said enough. Expect anything you put online to be seen by the public. The first step of crisis management in the age of social media is to guard your online presence as much as possible.

Social Media Crisis Management Tips

While you may try your best to guard your online communication to avoid a crisis, you could find yourself in one anyway. There are so many variables that exist in social media and marketing that you might not even know you’re involved in one.

Even if you follow the first step and steer away from controversy as much as possible, you still have to view social media crises as an inevitable problem you’ll face. So your next step is to have a plan in place.

If you run a company and employ workers, you need to create a social media policy, especially if an employee is in charge of your company’s social media accounts.

It’s also helpful to know how your company, your brand, and your art are perceived by the greater online community to get ahead of a crisis.

Technology is a wonderful thing. Social media listening tools help monitor online discussions concerning your company or your brand. You’ll witness, in real-time, overall public perception.

You can also set up search engine alert systems that focus on keywords regarding you, your company, or your product. If there’s a negative story printed, you need to know right away.

Social Media Crisis Communication

You now find yourself in a sticky situation. There’s a negative story about you or your company published. Someone found comments they deem inflammatory on one of your personal accounts.

You had too much wine and typed something stupid that’s now blowing up all over the internet. What do you do?

The most common human response is to crawl under a blanket and hope it all blows over. That’s not how a social media crisis works. Once a negative story trends, it spreads like a will spread like an out of control brush fire.

You need to communicate with your staff immediately about how and what they should communicate with each other and people on the outside.

Once you do that, you need to determine what and how you’ll resume communications on social media. Messaging is important here. Do you want to come off as defiant or conciliatory?

Will you downplay the negativity or will you deal with it head-on?

After you’ve decided on a social media crisis communication strategy, you now have to involve yourself in halting any previously approved social media posts and pull anything that might contribute to the crisis.

Social Media Crisis Response

Now you’re aware of the crisis you’re involved in and have determined how you will communicate, you have to respond. Your aim in any social media crisis should be a response in no more than an hour.

Even though you know what you want to say, you have to cut the right tone depending on the particulars of the crisis.

If outed for saying something insensitive or inflammatory, you need to make sure your response isn’t defensive or angry. Showing anger or defensiveness during any crisis is a guaranteed way to make it worse.

Your goal with your response is to disarm the public and resolve it. If you come off as anything less than apologetic or empathetic, you’ll risk prolonging the crisis to the point of complete ruin.

Deal With a Social Media Crisis Correctly

Social media is such an ingrained part of our lives it’s hard to imagine a time when it didn’t exist. While there are so many benefits to social media marketing and having a large online presence, it can be a minefield.

You’ve seen it. Someone slips up and types something ill-advised, and then the hashtags start. You’d like to think it wouldn’t happen to you, and maybe it won’t.

Given how often these crises happen, it could be. Guard yourself and prepare.

Do you need more crisis management strategy for your business? Check out the rest of our articles.