The social media outsourcing company you’ve hired should not only be on the lookout for the latest trends in the industry but it must be ready in times of social media crisis as well. After all, they’re the ones who are handling your accounts and in the frontline of your company’s defense online.
Customers no longer punch your hotline number to voice out their complaints. Social media is the modern customer service center. It is where they could easily reach you with the hopes that you can see their tweet or comment immediately. Regrettably, anyone in the world with a social media account can see it, too. A simple complaint could turn into a public debacle in a matter of seconds.
How can you contain and fix a social media crisis?
First, let us identify what a social media crisis is. According to Social Media Examiner, if there’s a high volume of incoming social media messages on one particular topic, chances are you have a social media crisis on your hands. Or a dear employee of yours posts something offensive or malicious on the official Facebook page of your company.
Here are the tips you and your social media outsourcing partner should keep in mind:
Turn your social listening ear on
Hootsuite suggests you should monitor:
· Your company name
· Your products and/or brands
· The competition
· Customer service inquiries
· The CEO
· Your media spokesperson or PR representatives
· Keywords related to your industry
We are not telling you to watch every social media account of yours like a hawk because you might never sleep a wink to be able to do it. Instead, use social listening tools like Google Alerts and Social Mention where you can automate and categorize every social mention related to your brand.
Social media crisis management plan
Create this before your social media outsourcing vendor creates your Facebook or Twitter account. As the late Benjamin Franklin said, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.”
Form a crisis committee
Who is involved? Hint: it is not a five-man team. The entire company and your vendor must be involved in this. Anyone in the company with a social media account can share their sentiments on the matter. And sometimes, it could create further damage even if they’re only trying to ‘help.’ Distribute a social media policy to each employee that contains the guidelines everyone should follow during a crisis.
Conduct a drill
Simulate a crisis scenario after you’ve created a social media management plan with your outsourcing partner. In this way, you will able to identify the loopholes on your plan and fix it accordingly. Only a foolproof plan can handle any social media crisis.
How long should you respond to an online rant? Is it after an hour or a day or a week? Prolong response time and you will be creating your own quicksand where your brand will never survive. Keep in mind the real-time nature of social media. Being proactive is the key. However, acting fast doesn’t mean you can reply in haste. As you formulate a well thought-out response, you may acknowledge the comment first and an assurance that you will get back to them after you gathered enough information on the matter.
Post moderation guidelines
This is an idea we’ve got from an article on Forbes. “Post moderation guidelines on your social media pages to make it obvious what behavior will or will not be tolerated within your social communities.” Think of it as a making a play book on your brands persona and ethical handling of crises in the brand’s personally special way.
Don’t send out ‘robotic’ replies
Users can see through automated responses and it could hurt your brand even more. It does not only sound robotic or lame, it also shows you don’t care for other people’s opinion. Remind your social media outsourcing partner to avoid doing this.
A social media crisis can happen anytime but once you have a well-formulated plan in place you could definitely save your brand’s reputation and image.