Social Media Crisis Management Guide | SLiM DIGITAL

Social Media Crisis Management Guide

November 20, 2015



An online crisis can mean any of a million things – but they all have one thing in common. They just mean trouble. Sixty per cent of global companies have no idea how to handle an online crisis – so it’s no surprise that small, local companies also struggle. Digital word of mouth spreads faster than a sex tape, and in a small town can mean the end of a good reputation.


In addition to the comments in the Financial Review by Gerry McCusker, I would suggest the following key actions.


  1. Lock the Page
  2. Get to the Bottom of the Problem
  3. Fix the Problem
  4. Explain the Reason Behind the Problem
  5. Apologise
  6. Respond within Hours
  7. Be Professional
  8. Offer a Token of Appreciation
  9. Delete and Block.


To find out what each of these means, read below.


  1. Lock the Page.


Being proactive is important. Change your privacy settings so no one except yourself can post to the page for a few hours only (if you do it for more than a day you are in danger of appearing controlling). This will give you a few hours to do the other steps and develop a game plan. This step is NOT about deleting anything or removing the evidence, it’s about effectively freezing the situation.



  1. Get to the Bottom of the Problem.


People like to complain about things. Social media is unfortunately one way people will get their opinion out fast – and far. There are plenty of people who won’t call or email, but will go straight to social media to make a complain. Find out what actually happened in the situation – this will give you some insight into the situation and what to do from here.



  1. Fix the Problem.


This is damage control. If it’s an offensive ad – delete it. If your customer service was lacking – train and counsel. People need to know that if you have done something wrong, or could have improved somewhere, that you have admitted it and made steps to rectify. This kind of feedback if exactly what you want in phone calls and emails – not posted online. But if it was, announce your response online as well. It is usually enough to placate most people and give them some insight into your management of the situation.



  1. Explain the Reason Behind it.


There is no point just saying sorry without saying why or how the issue occurred in the first place. If it is a stand you have taken, or a niche market you have chosen to go after and your marketing is a bit ‘different’ and might ostracise a group of people – like David Jones – then explain it. It is Public Relations 101 – you get to take the attention from the negative publicity and use it as a platform to get your message out.


  1. Apologise.


In most cases there is going to be some element of truth to whatever the complaint it. So apologise for it. Be human, be attainable and say you’re sorry. It really can be that simple.



  1. Respond within Hours.


In social media terms, hours is an eternity. Social media cannot – and should not – be left unattended. There are very few situations, in the digital world, that will blow over.  I am usually a fan of doing nothing, but in the digital world that is not an option.



  1. Be Professional.


Don’t write emotionally. If someone has written something that is hurtful then you are going to be upset or angry. But don’t let it show. Be professional. If you know you won’t be able to be professional, ask someone else to handle the situation. It’s important to be human and genuine – don’t be a robot – but don’t get angry, personal or aggressive.



  1. Offer a token of appreciation.


To those that have a genuine complaint, offer to speak to them at the office; offer a bottle of wine, a refund or a free whatever-it-is – but do something that says sorry and that makes up for what has happened.



  1. Delete and Block.


On the odd occasion the person who is complaining really has no leg to stand on. We will call them keyboard warriors. Keyboard Warriors are upset about something, and they are like a dog with a bone. They get abusive, destructive and downright annoying. If you’ve attracted one of these somehow, block them from the page and delete the comment or post.


If you need a hand with managing Social Media, then give us a call.

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