If you turn on the news, read through Twitter, or meet up with friends these days, you’re bound to hear of yet another company or individual dealing with a social media-related disaster.

Daily, it feels like there’s a new social media tragedy. Is this a sign that brands are unexpectedly behaving badly, or is this simply the way we live now?

We all know that social media’s major strength is amplification, which implies that both positive and negative news is more widely spread than ever before.

  1. Establish a social media policy:

    Please ensure you have your social media marketing plan and policy in place. When you give your staff clear instructions on what to post – and what they should never contemplate sharing – you reduce the chances of someone acting independently and causing havoc with your social media sites.

  2. Keep an ear out for any problems:

    To get ahead of prospective problems, use social listening. When done correctly and safely, social listening can assist to avoid problems from becoming full-fledged crises.

    You can evaluate how people feel about your brand by listening closely, and over time, you’ll be able to distinguish between mutterings and a big shift in mood against your company.

    If there’s a rapid spike in brand mentions, you’ll detect it right away.

  3. Create a crisis communication strategy:

    If you have this beforehand, you will be able to react promptly before things get out of hand.

    Timeliness is crucial when dealing with a social media crisis; your aim should be to reply within about an hour of the problem spreading.

    The following items should be included in your online communication strategy: 

    • How will you communicate internally about what’s going on?
    • How will you know whether there’s a problem and not just an angry customer?
    • Process for approving what you’ll share on social media
    • External messaging that has been pre-approved
    • Please provide links to your media policy
    • What will be done, and when will it be done? (per department)

    Expect to address the problem with a few well-timed postings, no matter how well you plan. The most important thing to remember is that people will be expecting a response from you, and you must respond as promptly as possible.

    As a starting point, simply admitting that there is an issue and informing people that additional information will be forthcoming.

  4. Posts that have been scheduled will be paused:

    Put an end to any posts you’ve planned ahead of time.

    Nothing says “We don’t care what you think” like a bunch of ridiculous memes or comments in the midst of a major situation. Your brand will appear tone-deaf and unsympathetic as a result of this.

  5. Recognize, but don’t argue:

    Defending yourself too soon or responding furiously in the heat of the moment will only raise doubts about your honesty. You still have time to make a video or issue an official company statement if you’ve already stated that you’ll respond soon. Meanwhile, make your comments as brief as possible, and avoid being drawn into another tweetstorm about what went wrong.

    If individuals keep trying to persuade you to interact before you’re ready, try moving the topic off of social media into a direct messaging, email, or phone calls. Remember that your pages will be seen by more people than before, and remain on the correct path, even if it becomes lonely. Head over to Prachar to get started with your own social media team!