How to Manage a Social Media CrisisRecently you may have noticed that a handful of big companies have made some major blunders on social media. For a company going through a social media crisis it can be an all-consuming experience. And since no company is completely immune, it’s important to have a plan. Here’s how your company can plan and manage a social media crisis:

  • Have a plan: If your company is using social media, then you should have a social media policy that details the steps to be taken if a social media crisis arises. Also, this policy should list the departments or employees that need to be notified in case of a social media emergency so steps can be taken quickly to control the situation.
  • Monitor: The most crucial aspect to a social media crisis plan is listening. Your company needs to pay attention to conversations surrounding your brand and business. If your company is going to have a social presence then it’s important to invest in social media listening tools like Radian6 or Hootsuite, etc. With these tools your company can monitor the conversation inside and outside of your brand.
  • Know what a crisis is: It’s important to understand what a social media crisis is. Try to determine how the crisis originated, how the fan or customer has been affected and why others are rallying behind the issue. Don’t jump in with a canned response or kneejerk reaction; listen to the conversation so your company can better shape an insightful and compassionate response.
  • Acknowledge the crisis: Today’s social conversations are fast paced and when responding, speed matters. Acknowledge the social complaint as quickly as possible, ignoring it will only make matters worse. Answering customer complaints on social media as they arise, while remaining compassionate and transparent, is highly recommended.
  • Always keep your cool: It’s understandable that your company may disagree with claims or complaints that are posted on social media but it’s important to never get into a public argument. This will obviously make things worse and could potentially ruin your company’s chance with future customers or fans. It’s best to work to understand where the customer is coming from so your business can better assist them and respond in a helpful way.
  • Turn a negative into a positive: If your business did something wrong, own up to it. It’s not worth it to try and figure out where the blame lies because that doesn’t make anything better. If your company takes responsibility and acts, you could possibly turn upset fans into loyal customers. Do not delete social media complaints, answer them and own up to the issues that are listed. By deleting complaints, your company will do nothing but add fuel to the fire. Instead, act responsibly and eagerly to fix any customer complaints. With that approach, your company will come out ahead.