Is Your Brand Ready For Social Media Crisis ?

By Wan Faranaquiah

When posting a job requirement for a digital and social media marketing person, most companies would overlook the social media crisis management knowledge or skill. They only focused on bringing in a talent that will improve the company’s brand awareness and revenue.

From my experience, only 10% of the client that I have worked with were concerned on setting up a social media crisis management plan. They have understanding of the impact of social media crisis on their business and brand.

According to a study by the insurance firm Marsh, every $1 spent in crisis planning will save $7 losses for a company in a crisis. This is why every company should have a social media crisis management plan.

A crisis is defined any event that is, or is expected to lead to, an unstable and dangerous situation affecting an individual, group, community, or whole society. Crises are deemed to be negative changes in the security, economic, political, societal, or environmental  affairs, especially when they occur abruptly, with little or no warning. More loosely, it is a term meaning “a testing time” or an “emergency event” – wikipedia

There are many causes that contributes to social media crisis but I will only highlight 7 of them, each with a case study that I selected accordingly.

1) Negative customer experience. – Ryanair.

Suzy McLeod received the backing of more than half a million Facebook users after the airline charged her €300 to print out five boarding passes before a flight from Alicante to Bristol.

2)Inappropriate content – American Red Cross.

The tweet was accidentally posted Tuesday night by Gloria Huang, a Red Cross social media specialist, and stayed up for about an hour.

3)Rogue employees. – Domino’s Pizza

In videos posted on YouTube, a Domino’s employee in Conover, N.C., prepared sandwiches for delivery while putting cheese up his nose, nasal mucus on the sandwiches, and violating other health-code standards while a fellow employee provided narration.

4)Failure to respond quickly – British Airways.

A customer decision to highlight BA’s customer service came following a trip his parents made from Chicago to Paris at the weekend, during which his father lost his luggage. It took 10 hours for British Airways to pick up on it.

5)Security breach. – Buffer

Buffer was hacked and many their customers were experiencing spam posts sent to their timeline from Buffer.

6)Inappropriate respond. – Amy’s Baking Company Bakery Boutique & Bistro.

The owner are seen swearing at customers, and they reply to nearly every comment about their restaurant. Not only were the responses incredibly defensive, but facilitating even more discussion and backlash.

7)Lack of fact checking – Burberry.

British fashion house Burberry has come under fire after they they captioned a photo from the BAFTAs with the wrong actor’s name on Twitter.

These are my best compilation on 6 steps how to address social media crisis that will help you as a social media person to act quickly and effectively.

BE PREPARED. Create a social media crisis management plan and a community team. Compile all list of contacts that should be referred to at each stage of a potential social media crisis. Provide guidelines on how all employees are expected to communicate on social media.

LISTEN CAREFULLY. Every company that invest on social media marketing should have a listening tool and protocol in their organization that will monitor conversation on all appropriate channels and help them to detect negative sentiment or legitimate complaint.

IDENTIFY . Not every negative comments are a crisis, guidelines for identifying the type of comment must be made to recognize it as a crisis or not. Documented it. WHO is the source , WHAT is the problem, WHY people are rallying, HOW to solve the problem.

CONSIDER – Consult authorize personnel regarding the crisis and draft your response but make sure it is within your company’s policy and remember the basics of good customer service because it will be judged by your customers and your followers.

RESPOND QUICKLY & APPROPRIATELY – Most social customers expect to see a response within one hour.

  • Acknowledge – It as quickly as you can. Produce a simple message from your company that acknowledge the issue and letting people know that more information is coming soon. It will prevent the issue from spiraling out of control.
  • Let people vent – Be transparent with your customers, do not delete the comment because instead of addressing them will only add fuel to the social fire and conveys that you might have something to hide.
  • Keep it Cool – Do not argue with the customers. Social media crisis management is not about winning, it is about damage control.
  • Own it – Ask for forgiveness, you will be forgiven if you say you are honestly sorry and it will turns upset customers into loyal customers by taking responsibility.
  • Setup a FAQ and hold it in one place – Create a microsite and put all the information about the crisis in one place. This process will allows the you to monitor and respond to the conversation.
  • Know when to take it offline – Ask them for their contact so you can communicate directly with them and can address the problem effectively. Your effort are seen by the rest of the community that you are trying to solve the problem. That matters.

LEARN AND GROW. After crisis, hold a debriefing session and update the crisis management plan.

History tells us that an organization that recover from a crisis with their reputations most intact are the ones who are most prepared.

“You cannot always control what happens to you, but you can control how you deal with it. And in the end that’s what matters”-Kurt P.Stocker