Any business should have an online presence. Growing a loyal social media following is a key marketing strategy. Ensuring that the relationship between you and clients are positive (as much as you can). It is also possible for social media to do the opposite fairly quickly if dialogue is missing during a crisis.
A social media crisis refers to any sudden activity that has a negative impact on your business and its reputation. Of course, with any product and service, there will be complaints, a few bad reviews online doesn’t really count as a crisis and a response can quickly squash it. But, acting quickly before things escalate can ensure any fires are put out before the spread.
Here some tips on how to easily handle a potential social media crisis your business may be facing:
Set Boundaries For Employees
It’s important to make sure all employees that have access to your social media accounts know the dos and don’ts, and also that everyone maintains a consistent voice throughout. Creating a social media policy can help with this as it sets expectations and practices, should there be any doubt. Such a policy will outline what’s appropriate in terms of contact and confidentiality policies and confirm your brand voice. You’ve got a better chance of keeping things relaxed and out of the social media crisis zone if everyone knows how to behave from the off. Social media activity should be the responsibility of a few key people and not everyone.
Social Media Management
If you manage your social media account well, you’ll see comments made about your products or services quickly, both good and bad. As with everything social media, time is of the essence. So, you should make sure you reply to all customer comments, no matter what their status. Remember, it’s not personal so maintain the professional voice set out in your social media policy at all times.
No matter what the outcome of the issue and how you resolve it, fellow customers will see you’re responding quickly despite the differences. This will provide faith in your business for acknowledging the problem. Then, working hard to get things right. If you need to admit fault, then do directly and quickly. The best response is a direct but short response without creating more conflict. There’s no need to argue and those watching will side with the customer at any sign of unprofessionalism. You can also provide the relevant contact information to the customer to take things offline and to deal with the complaint directly after your public response. Social listening will also help flag up any potential problems before they escalate.
When dealing with a social media crisis it may be a good idea to pause any scheduled and upcoming posts. The tone of the scheduled posts will not reflect the voice in the moment. So, holding off on such posts is a good idea. As everyone’s attention is focused on the crisis, you don’t want to judge any light-heartedness or product news based on what’s transpiring. It’s wasted communication so pause for a few days while things get back on track. You must also communicate with all staff about what’s happening as it will help maintain trust within your organisation. Remember, if things go wrong, it’s how we handle it that will make all the difference in the reputation of your brand. It’s inevitable these situations will happen, so think preparation (with guidelines and policies) and response.
A Crisis Plan
Your company should have a social media crisis plan in place. This along with the company guidelines will include communication expectations externally, how to identify a crisis (what constitutes a crisis for your business), responsibilities and communication. Customers will also expect a response quickly whether its daytime, weekends or evenings. Don’t let things fester and grow by not communicating for lengthily periods of time. It’s also a good idea to document all that happened during this time so you can learn from it and make adjustments (if necessary for next time).
By being transparent, honest, and responsive to your customers, you will be able to maintain trust, which will lead to loyalty. Ask yourself what you’d expect if you were the customer to ensure the best policies are in place.
To read other helpful articles on using social media for marketing purposes, including the benefits of TikTok marketing and active Facebook groups, click here.