A social media crisis can strike at any moment, quickly ruining a brand’s reputation. Whether battling bad press or an onslaught of angry comments and customers, crises online can be tough to control. Because of this, it’s important that you understand how to recover from a social media crisis before it happens. This way, you’ll have a chain of command and protocol in place to help you calmly navigate a controversy.
Worried? You don’t have to be! Here’s how you can prepare and deal with a crisis before it snowballs out of control.
Focus on Social Listening
A good rule of thumb in public relations and reputation management is to keep an ear out for what people say about your brand or business. You must remain vigilant to customer complaints (or even praise!) across social media platforms, especially those you are active on. If you spot a dissatisfied customer or user, reach out via social media to make things right. It’s best to catch problems early than wait for them to spiral out of control.
When it comes to comments on your own profile, a tool like Smart Moderation can help expand your public relations and customer service prowess. This artificial intelligence powered by machine learning can be customized to identify topics related to a certain topic or theme. While many use it to block inappropriate or abusive comments, you could train the software to discover negative engagement that needs addressing.
The tool collects these comments from across your profiles in one place, making it easy to respond quickly to problems as they arise from a single dashboard.
Keep Your Composure
The response you give makes or breaks the brand. When dealing with public relations, don’t feel attacked by user complaints and don’t let your emotions get to you. Failure to do so leads to disaster and can turn critics against you. It’s important that you have a plan already put in place for how to respond to a social media crisis before it happens. This way, you ease much of the stress by having a defined protocol and team to help deal with anticipated issues.
Some social media crisis management questions to consider are:
- What is the problem, and who does it affect?
- How large is the problem’s impact?
- Is the situation ongoing? What’s been done already to address it?
These questions help you dole out responsibilities to your team members and identify where and when to act.
The most important thing to remember in reputation management is to validate users’ claims. Don’t treat customer service like a debate or argument; your goal isn’t to be “right,” but to resolve problems and make customers happy. Customer service is the new competitive battleground, which makes social media crisis management more important now than ever.
Humility goes a long way! While apologizing can sometimes be tough—especially if a user comes off as a little rude—it shows that you hold yourself to a high standard, which customers will appreciate moving forward. Failure to respond to negative engagement at all only invites others to chime in to echo their bad experiences, and hiding bad engagement harms customer trust.
Respond to a Social Media Crisis Faster with AI
An important factor in public relations and reputation management is exerting a semblance of control over the conversation. But with so many social media posts generated each day, it’s easy for a crisis to spiral out of control. Time is of the essence in reputation management, so you must ensure you can weed out irrelevant comments when the going gets tough.
With Smart Moderation, you can immediately target and hide abusive and inappropriate comments that exist solely to cause you trouble. You should never erase a genuine complaint, but in times of a public relations disaster, you don’t have time to swim in a sea of trolls who a) aren’t actual fans/clients/customers and b) have nothing constructive to offer. Whether you want to hide, reply to or report slanderous comments, the tool makes it easy by collecting them in one place using powerful artificial intelligence.
Follow Up when Your Social Media Crisis is Resolved
After your initial response, don’t leave users in the dark. Explain to them what you’ve been doing to fix the issue. Establishing a system for doing so should be part of your crisis management action plan: decide how you will contact users (email, phone, something else?), when and how often.
Don’t Wait—Learn from Public Relations Disasters Now
It’s essential that you keep up with common complaints and controversies within your industry. How are other companies handling issues that come their way? What can you learn from them? When a high-profile crisis occurs, always look for ways it can be avoided with your own brand or business.