Social media is a great tool to use if you hope to connect with prospective customers. You can share product information, testimonials, photos, and more. Past, present, and future customers can engage with your social media profiles by liking your post on Facebook, retweeting your tweet on Twitter, commenting on your Instagram photo, or watching your videos on Snapchat. This positive engagement is great for business, but what happens when someone has a negative experience and decides to use your social media profiles to let others know about it? Managing a social media crisis like this can be stressful, and sometimes difficult, but following these 5 steps will help you out if and when the time comes.
1. Appoint a social media manager. A social media manager is essential if you want to keep your social media platforms active and engaging – they’re also the first and best line of defense when it comes to managing a social media crisis. Choose someone who has time to monitor your platforms daily. Less than 10 minutes per platform is usually more than enough time to check on comments, reviews, and more to ensure that no negative conversations have started.
2. Have notifications on all activities sent to the social media manager. This can save time by having the notifications sent as they happen. The social media manager can check the emails they receive, delete them if nothing seems to be of concern, and address anything negative immediately.
3. Answer all inquiries within 24 hours. Time is a huge factor when it comes to managing a social media crisis. On social media, most people expect an immediate response. That, of course, is impossible, but answering within 24 hours is both doable and necessary. If you wait an entire week to address an issue, you may only exacerbate the situation and allow more time for it to go unresolved – which means there’s more time for others to join the conversation.
4. In case of a crisis, take charge immediately. Reach out to the offended party on the platform where they confronted you, apologize publicly, then take the conversation to a private platform where you can discuss the issue. If a person contacts you on Facebook, comment on their post and let them know you’ve sent them a private message on Facebook Messenger.
5. If media is involved, don’t engage in social media conversations. Follow your organizational crisis communication protocol and issue statements if it comes to that.