Heading into 2017, we advise all of our clients to refresh their social media crisis communication plans given the rapid growth and updates with social communication channels. To help get started, here are a few basic points that should be part of a plan:
- Have a plan: This is a no-brainer, but we know first-hand that some companies have crisis plans that do not include a social media section. We know that social media is becoming the go-to place for a crisis to develop and to blow up. A good social media plan will outline steps to take, and how to take control of a crisis.
- Listen: There are a lot of conversations going on, and companies, organizations and individuals need to listen. What are people saying about you and your industry? Are you responding appropriately, and are you part of the conversation? If not, you should be.
- Know when to react: When does a heated social media conversation become a crisis? Are 20 negative Tweets considered a crisis? How about 200 or 2,000? A good social media plan will outline a heat map for a social media crisis making it easier to tell the difference between venting and a crisis.
- Speed matters: The quicker a crisis is identified, the quicker a response plan can be put into place. People want to be heard, and on social media that means immediately.
- Don’t overreact: Remember social media is a two-way street. Companies or brands should have a thick skin and be able to listen to criticism and let organic conversations take place. People need to vent; it’s a healthy social media activity.
- Stay calm: Social media crises can have a short half-life. Quickly responding may help, but sometimes a crisis needs to run its course.
- Respond with facts and honesty: Spin is not advisable on social media (nor as any kind of a crisis response). People usually see through it, and it might prolong a crisis. Think real, honest responses even when it means owning up to mistakes.
Find out more about GroundFloor Media’s crisis communication planning.