With the changing sociopolitical fabric of the world, social media crises have become a frequent occurring. Prasad Shejale Logicserve Digital shares a blueprint to help create a response plan for such situations if the need arises.
In today’s hyperconnected world, you never know when even a single tweet can spark an uprising or even cause devastation for a brand. Social media world is very active and information spreads quickly, whether it is positive or negative. It has multiple benefits too, however, in case of any concerns, there need to be some guard rails that a brand and agency should follow if a social media crisis is to happen any time.
It is always best to keep these things ready and in place beforehand rather than figuring out solutions after the crisis happens. Here are some ways to set up a social media crisis response plan in case the need arises.
Know the Difference
The most important thing for any brand or social media manager is to understand the difference between a crisis or a non-crisis situation. You should be able to quickly analyse and understand if a particular situation is actually a crisis for you or not. This understanding will go a long way and avoid unnecessary panic situations.
Brands should do a detailed risk analysis of their communication as well as brand endorsers/ ambassadors who are the voice for the brand. It doesn’t necessarily mean that a brand has to be confined to certain set standards.
Consider properly if the ambassador fits in the overall brand persona and if he/ she is vocal about their political views or views on crucial matters.
Additionally, brands should also do a sentimental analysis of the ambassador’s social media pages to check if there are any noticeable red flags.
Even when you do have a plan of action ready for any uncertain situations, there should always be some backup plans as well. This is applicable even when you launch a new campaign. Some backup plans can help you avoid any unwanted attention.
When you have multiple backup plans in place, you can always use different plans if one of them doesn’t work. However, if nothing works out then you definitely need to be agile and be able to think on your feet to salvage the situation.
Every crisis is different and might not be related to the same set of team members in an organization. Have a system in place wherein you know who needs to be contacted for crises related to different situations/topics and then set up alert systems that can notify the concerned seniors about the emergency.
Acknowledge and Act
When a crisis does happen, you should always acknowledge the concern, understand the varied emotions that are shared by the customers and then act in a way that assures them that you are working on resolving it.
During a crisis, it’s never about winning, all you have to do is damage control. So, avoid any huge promises or generic responses.
The consumers are angry at such times and hence it is not possible to convince them all. The best thing is always to acknowledge and inform that you are aware and are working your best to ease their concerns.
Key Messages & Communication Guidelines
When a crisis happens, everything progresses very quickly, especially on social media. As a brand, you always need to act and respond quickly in these situations. Hence, you should always keep some key messages ready that can be communicated when a crisis does happen. This is what is going to mean the most when such situations arise. You can have a great team and foolproof plans in place, but, if the message is wrong, all the efforts are going to be worthless.
And yes, of course, you can’t predict and know about what the crisis could be. You can work around your values to generate key messages that can be conveyed.
Also, it is critical to set up communication guidelines for crisis situations. These will further help you respond and act quickly. It will help you communicate better with stakeholders and employees, guide everyone on responding to inquiries and set the tonality you will use. All this might seem simple, but when a crisis happens, you don’t really get a lot of time to discuss and figure out these things. If you are prepared beforehand, it will help in achieving effective results and can stop you from making things worse.
Don’t Divert from the Core
Every brand has its own personality or style which is evidently reflected in its communication. You should always stick to that personality even when you are handling a crisis. The most critical thing here is to never succumb to the pressure or trolls. Continue to communicate the way you would always do, and maintain the consistency of your style and personality.
This article piece is authored by Prasad Shejale, Founder & CEO, Logicserve Digital