While turning into the fastest and most convenient way of reaching the broadest audience possible, social media now has a firm grasp on the corporate world. This overnight phenomenon has turned into a giant public library where its users have the ease of discovering and spreading information as they please. It is unsurprising, therefore, that government agencies, nonprofits, corporations and others are turning to social media to landscape their crisis management strategy. This article will give you an insight into the imperative reasons of why your company needs social crisis management training.
So my company’s reputation is having an “off-day” – So what?
Celebrating its 7th birthday, Twitter released news that users send over 400 million tweets per day. If one small stain of negative information is released and not harnessed immediately, one of these tweets can cause the situation to spiral out of control – quickly! If your company finds itself dipped in this pickle jar, you can definitely not ignore social media’s ability to catalyze an immediate crisis.
Still don’t believe me? Let’s look at the statistics:
- Facebook – 1.06 Billion Monthly Active Users
- YouTube – 1 Billion Monthly Users
- Twitter – 500 Million Users
- Google+ – 359 Million Users
- LinkedIn – 200 Million Users
- Pinterest – 48.7 Million Users
Furthermore, with close to 23% of the world’s time spent on the Internet on social media platforms, it is key to have a professional and consistent social crisis management strategy. Here are 3 invaluable tips!
1. Never Stay Silent – Face it Head-On!
Staying silent is exactly what a company should never do – it is almost suicidal! Silence leaves a gap of the unknown, potentially allowing for further rumors to spread around the web over which nobody has any control! To avoid this, head representatives of your company, or social media department, should face the situation head-on. A perfect instance of this was when an employee of KitchenAid accidentally tweeted the following to its corporate account during the presidential elections:
In order to harness this catastrophic crisis, Cynthia Soledad, the head of the KitchenAid brand, almost immediately issued multiple tweets apologizing for the employee’s irresponsible actions:
Needless to say, KitchenAid’s reputation has been forever stained due to this slip-up; however dealing with it directly without pussyfooting around the situation helped the company save face to a certain degree.
2. Train Your Staff to be Effective
Your employees are representatives of your organization – it is of the utmost importance that they properly and professionally represent the brand in a favorable light! While reaching out to thousands of followers, being able to use these social media platforms appropriately should be ingrained in your employees’ everyday routine.
Your employees should be able to use the company’s social media tool to:
- Respond in a prompt manner
- Be professional – reassure readers the company is taking action to remedy the situation
- Answer in a positive and empathizing fashion – take the customers’ concerns into account!
- And of course… Apologize!
These responses may also act as potential viral tweets and posts which give readers assurance your company is in the process of alleviating the situation. After the following tweet was issued by Cynthia Soledad, multiple replies were posted around the Twittersphere congratulating her, and the company, on the prompt and professional manner in which she took full responsibility.
3. Develop an Effective Social Media Policy
Establishing a social media policy not only provides guidance but also protocol on responding to hazardous comments in order to avert from a potential social media crisis. These regulatory measurements should ensure authenticity to be presented professionally when engaging with your fans. Establish a balance between empathy and professionalism – this ensures consistency on all social platforms when portraying your organization’s brand image. Appropriate punishments should also be incorporated into said policy should an employee break the rules. In the case of KitchenAid, a suitable penalty was dealt to the employee as seen in a later tweet (below).
Being such an effective and powerful tool, today’s social media has opened doors to small and large companies the likes of which no one could imagine 10 years ago. That said, “With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility” – these are imperative reasons why any company should take actions to establish, and perfect, its social crisis management strategy in today’s digital world.