How To Handle A Crisis On Social Media

social media for business

It’s no secret that a good social media platform can do wonders for your business. Going viral is almost synonymous with company expansion, and everybody loves a hilarious corporate tweet. Brands these days, however, must tread the waters of online culture carefully: while the upsides of using social media for business certainly exist, a fail can live forever.

Being prepared in the case of a social media misstep is essential to crisis management. Here are our best tips for when your company finds itself in free fall online:


Understand What Constitutes a Crisis

People can be unfortunately mean – and that’s just life on the Internet! But understanding the implications of somebody’s one-off rude Tweet or Instagram comment versus a public outcry against your brand is the first step in crisis management. First, you must analyze: does what’s being said constitute a crisis? 


Is this just one person’s negative opinion or review?

Negative behavior on your business’s social media accounts is definitely deserving of a response. However, one-off instances of dissatisfaction certainly do not warrant a crisis. Click here for an in-depth look at how to best tackle these types of negative comments on your company’s social media pages.


What does the typical conversation surrounding your brand entail? 

Some brands find themselves in the unique position of eliciting an ongoing dialogue surrounding their company’s ethics. And while this kind of conversation might still  negatively impact your brand’s image online, there isn’t necessarily a crisis at hand if the discussion is regular.


If current attitudes towards your company are deemed as having a potential long-term threat to your brand’s image, however, consider the following steps:


Put a Pause on Unrelated Scheduled Posts

When dealing with a crisis, it’s critical that all communication coming from your brand is appropriate and deliberate. An unrelated post during such a time that disregards the situation will likely descend your brand into further chaos.

Make sure to put a pause on any scheduled posts you may have planned through third-party sites to avoid appearing tone-deaf to the crisis at hand.


Create a Crisis Communication Plan

Communications plans are the key component in preparation for a social media crisis. Your initial messaging to your followers should be executed swiftly, but also with deliberate intention. In your plan, you may want to include:


  • A link to your company’s current policy regarding social media.
  • An up-to-date emergency contact list, with information spanning several departments that may be of potential use (social media team, legal team, company executives, etc.).
  • Roles and responsibilities for the members of each department in such an event, as well as procedure for informing company employees of the current situation.
  • An outline of the approval process for all new communications via social media.


Acknowledge, Don’t Argue

Your company’s initial response to the public is a crucial moment in how your social media misstep will be perceived. Acknowledgement of the crisis is key, and avoid any sort of argument or lack of ownership of your brand’s mistakes. Prepare your team to properly engage with concerned patrons. If possible, redirect more in-depth conversation with consumers to a private platform (like DM’s or a customer service email).


For further information on how to properly maintain your brand’s reputation online and avoid crisis altogether, click here