Top 7 best practices for crisis management in social media

The following post was originally published October 28, 2010 by Alexandra Cojocaru for Social Media Today.

The keyword for when you’re dealing with a potential damaging issue is NOW.

  1. To be one step ahead of whatever might happen, always remember to monitor your mentions in social media. You have to constantly be there to watch everything that’s happening in social media, if you don’t want to be caught off-guard.
  2. Once you’ve done that, you also need to be proactive in your approach: don’t wait for a crisis to happen to make you engage with possible advocates of your brand. The bigger your network of fans is, the bigger the opportunity for them to stand up for you.
  3. Expect the worst, because in social media, a crisis can get amplified like you never even dreamed, and there’s a bigger possibility for things to get out of hand. And don’t be afraid, people complaining about your services is not such a bad thing, at least you get the chance to make up for the problem and get a confidence vote.
  4. Don’t remain silent when a war is unfolding in front of you; it’s best to admit the error and apologize. Use every social media outlet you have to give out information on how things are standing and respond to people’s questions (everybody knows about the Domino Pizza apology video, that’s a well thought-out use of a communication channel).
  5. Respond to negativism, not acknowledging it won’t help. Dissapointed people will not only stop any relationship with you, but they will surely influence others – and bad stuff spread like fire in social media. Transparency is very important, people need to know what happened, not knowing will leave room for rumors and can deepen the crisis. Here’s a case when being prompt and publishing all the needed information helped save someone’s reputation.

About andrewodom

Social Media Manager at Delta Career Education Corp.
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3 Responses to Top 7 best practices for crisis management in social media

  1. Jennie says:

    It’s interesting that you posted this because Raleigh has been discussing what to do when we have a negative comment on FB. Obviously we want to address the users concerns and make them feel like they can reach out but we also don’t want the page to become a sounding board for all the students that are angry their FA check hasn’t come in yet. 🙂

    I’m curious as to what other teams are thinking with this. What we have been doing in Raleigh is making contact with the user who made the post privately – usually a private message through FB. Once that message is sent; and we assure them we have taken their concern seriously, we value their opinions and have sent the message to someone that can help them (if that is appropriate), we delete their post from the page’s wall. We haven’t had (keep fingers crossed here) any situation get out of control and I’m hoping that if we monitor the page often enough we should be able to address an issue before many students even know about it.

    • andrewodom says:

      You hit the nail on the head, in my opinion. Monitor the page regularly (more than once a day). Having done that you are likely to see things faster than the majority of your population. You are right Jennie. We don’t want our walls to become sounding boards for embittered people searching for delinquent financial aid. But if they have a real question or concern it can be a great way to answer what may be several people’s questions.

    • Tyler says:

      Jennie- we have taken a little bit different of an approach. Rather than sending them a private message, we put up a public answer to their concern. This way more than just that particular student can see that we are working to resolve the problem. Although we have not had many students post negatively (knock on wood). I have also seen a few instances where a student has posted something negative and other students or their friends/family have actually posted up in our defense.

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