Social media is all about fast and efficient results. But it also means that even the smallest mistake can quickly lead to a full-blown social media crisis. That happens especially when you don't know how to put out the fire right away.
Since there's nothing worse than dealing with a crisis when you're already in the middle of it, we've put together some tips below. These are five basic tips to help you prepare for social media crisis management if it happens:
Create a strong social media policy
If you haven't already, this is the perfect time to create a social media policy that will help you avert many social media crises in the future. It should be clear and concise enough for non-social media experts to understand.
It should also fit with your social media strategies. Especially with the way you want to be projected as a brand. It should take into account legalities such as appropriate decorum, privacy and confidentiality clauses.
Invest in your safety
Social media accounts are easy targets for trolls and hackers. But the biggest threat to your own accounts is actually the people on your team.
A former employee with a grudge can easily infiltrate your social media accounts and betray you. So you need to limit access to only a few core members of your team. It's also important to create strong passwords and change them regularly.
Know when to answer
The point is: Not all negative comments call for crisis management. So learn to pick your battles. Define what a social media crisis is for your business as early as possible. That way, you can protect yourself from overreactions.
For example, a person who comments negatively on a Facebook post does not immediately request a response. That's because it can only be one opinion. But if you have 20 other followers commenting on the same thing within a day, you should start a reply.
Listen to your followers
To manage a crisis before it gets out of control, you need to listen to what people are saying. You should use a tool to track responses and stories about your brand. This is very effective to avert a crisis immediately.
It's also important to have someone tracking your campaigns at all times. This will help you avoid unanswered questions and comments that could easily lead to a crisis.
Go prepared for battle
Finally, you need to take the right steps to deal with a crisis. For one, stop all scheduled posts and address the problem as quickly and directly as possible. This lets your followers know that you're aware of the problem and are taking steps to fix it.
Apologize if you have to. Make sure you have prepared a more detailed response for the public. For example, by issuing a press release.
It's also ideal to debrief your team about the problem and note your responses. That way, you can effectively update your crisis management plan.