How to handle socials in a crisis

In the relatively short amount of time we’ve had social media, it’s quickly become one of the largest platforms for people to interact and gather information online. In just seconds, brands can send messages that have the potential to reach millions of loyal followers, prospective customers, and the general public. Since social media is a great platform for your business to share information, it’s also one of the best places to help you manage a crisis, should one ever occur. Let’s take a look at some of the different things you can do to help maintain your company’s reputation during a public relations crisis. 

Always Be Ready For a Crisis

Constantly worrying about when your next crisis is going to happen is no way to work. Instead, just be ready to act when one does occur. Every company should have a brand guide for what to say and do during an unprecedented crisis. Each of your social media accounts should have specific guidelines to follow and should refrain from posting anything unrelated to the crisis until it’s resolved. By having a plan in place for when things could go wrong, you’ll be able to effectively deliver information regarding the situation in a professional manner that helps maintain your company’s reputation.

Own the Crisis, Don’t Brush It Off

When there is a crisis it can be a difficult time for your fans and customers. Be sure that your social media messaging reflects that you care about the people who keep you in business. One of the best ways to soften the blow of a crisis is to own it. Having messaging that acknowledges your company’s mistake and takes accountability for the crisis at hand, you’ll be able to get in front of the issue quicker. The quicker you can take ownership of a problem and apologize, the quicker you can start to regain the trust of your following. 

Be a Good Communicator For Your Followers

When a crisis first hits your company it’ll likely be a little chaotic. You’ll have questions after questions flooding your social media accounts as followers and fans try to figure out what’s happening. One of the best ways to provide clear, accurate, and timely information regarding your crisis is to establish an FAQ page. It can be either a minisite or a page on your site, but it should provide reasonable and relevant questions and answers about what is going on with your company. Once you have this page live, it’s easy to share it with your followers on social platforms so that any questions they have regarding the situation can be answered.

Additionally, engaging with your followers during a crisis can be very beneficial when done appropriately. During times of crisis, people will often message social accounts with questions regarding what’s going on. When this happens it’s best to provide a clear and concise answer while also being polite. Social media users will often ask inflammatory questions to stoke the coals so be sure you reply respectfully and don’t let triggering responses create a new crisis. The best way to respond is to provide factual information in a non-argumentative way. Just provide them with the necessary information and move on. 

The Takeaway

The main takeaway is that no matter what sort of crisis unfolds in your company, you need to have a plan for how to react on social media. By having a social media plan in place before a crisis occurs, you’ll be more prepared to handle it in a professional manner that can help maintain the reputation of your business. Additionally, provide as much accurate and helpful information you can when acknowledging your crisis. The more information you can provide to your followers the quicker people will understand the situation and the smoother recovery will be.