Social media has many benefits for businesses and brands. It provides a platform to market their products, engage with customers, and introduce new products. However, like any other thing in life, it also has its potential risks. One of these is a social media crisis where brands come under fire for their mistakes.
This could be a mistake like delaying a customer’s order, not responding to inquiries, or using a racial slur. If not well handled, such mistakes can escalate into a total crisis. This is why it’s important to prevent a social media crisis before it happens.
Types of Social Media Crises
Social media crises can be categorized into:
- Emerging crisis. This crisis is yet to turn into a full-blown crisis. It should be acknowledged and dealt with before it turns into a full-blown crisis.
- Social activism. This crisis involves people demonstrating against your business, industry, or brand.
- Multi-channel crisis. This kind of crisis can quickly go viral and affect your brand as it contains lots of negative criticism.
- Industry crisis. This affects the whole industry and not just a single company. It’s important to understand your peers’ mistakes and learn from them.
- Misinformation/false news. With the social sharing ability of social media, rumors can easily get out of hand. Therefore, any false news should be debunked immediately.
How to Prevent a Social Media Crisis
There are several tips you can use to prevent a social media crisis:
Identify the Possible Causes
The best way to prevent a social media crisis is by understanding the possible causes. If you are wondering what can lead to a social media crisis, here are some possible reasons:
- Mistreatment of customers
- Using discriminatory words
- Product defects or delays in delivering customer products
- Doing an offensive post on social media
- Using a professional account to write a personal message.
Take note of industry trends and customer feedback.
Understand the Rules Of Engagement
Social media crises often result from miscommunication. Therefore, this is one area where you try to watch to prevent a crisis. Here are the rules for engaging social media users:
- Don’t let negative posts escalate. A social media crisis can result from a harmless negative post that could have been easily handled. So don’t ignore or delete negative posts expecting them just to disappear.
- Apologize fast. When a negative post arises, do not wait until it becomes a crisis. Whether you are right or wrong, apologize and provide a remedy.
Monitor Your Social Media Channel Regularly
You should do this regularly to discover a crisis when it is emerging. You can set up social media alerts to get notified when a problem occurs. Other tools include Google Alerts, Talk Walker, and Mention. You can also track your brand mentions on social media.
Have a Social Media Policy
Like other handbooks meant to handle employee performance issues, a social media policy can help guide employees on handling themselves to prevent a social media crisis. The policy should provide guidelines to your employees on acceptable behavior online, whether during or outside working hours.
Engage With Customers
Most brands consider social media profiles essential for promoting their products and services. While there is nothing wrong with this, social media should also be an essential tool for addressing customer problems immediately they arise. Therefore, when you discover negative comments about your company, respond to them. This will show you care whether the comment is posted directly on your page or the customer’s page.
Get a Qualified Social Media Manager
Your social media marketing will only be as good as the person handling it. This is why you need to ensure that they know how to respond to customers in a customer-friendly way. They should have the skills to handle a crisis and stay cool in the heat of the moment. While hiring an intern may be more cost-effective, they may not have the skills to handle a social media crisis.
Have a Crisis Management Plan
Even before a social media crisis happens, you need to plan how to respond if it happens. The goal of a plan should be to protect your brand’s reputation, address a crisis quickly when it happens, and minimize damage. The plan should have a team complete with their roles and responsibilities.
The team should have the necessary templates, tools, and resources. They should also have a checklist summarising the key steps they should take. This can help them act fast, efficiently, and uniformly in a crisis.
Keep Your Social Media Account Secure
If your social media account has a weak password, this could easily expose your account to a crisis. The more people who know your social media account password, the higher the threat of a crisis. Employees are more likely to cause a social media crisis than hackers. Therefore, ensure that your social media password is only in the hands of a few trusted employees.
A social media crisis can mess up years of handwork spent building a brand. That’s why it’s important to prevent it before it happens. By following these tips, you can easily avoid a social media crisis occurring.