Whether your next public relations crisis is an embarrassing faux pas, a product recall, or a devastating disaster, this event has the potential to damage the reputation of your brand.While public perception of your brand and the nature of the incident will play a role in the seriousness of the crisis, the way you handle the event on social media channels will very much determine how quickly the event blows over — and how well your brand survives it.
The mistakes in dealing with a negative event on social can be reduced dramatically with solid social media crisis management. Now that we’ve seen a handful of the many ways you can inadvertently kill a brand on social media, let’s take a look at some of the measures you can take to reduce the risk of encountering a similarly catastrophic scenario, and tips you can use if a crisis is unavoidable. For Digital Marketing Companies Check Vivid Digital
Here are ground rules your business should have — just in case.
1: Think Before You Hashtag
As we discussed earlier, hashtags can be a great way to maximize visibility of your social content. However, as McDonald’s learned the hard way, hashtags can be as destructive as they can be useful.
Before creating a hashtag-themed campaign on any social platform, think about the myriad ways this could backfire. Could the meaning of the hashtag be purposefully misconstrued to damage your company’s reputation? Now is not the time to put your faith in the goodness of strangers or the better nature of your fellow humans.
Similarly, public perceptions of your company (or the company you work for) play a large role in the potential pitfalls of a hashtag-centric campaign. This is particularly important if you manage the social presence of large corporate entities with poor reputations, such as Comcast. It doesn’t matter how much money you spend, or how positive the messaging is, or how creative your campaign’s hashtags are – if people hate your company, they’ll take any chance they can to malign you on social media, including hijacking your hashtags.
2: Avoid Capitalizing on Crises
If you’re tempted to think that your tweet about 9/11 or a similar tragedy will be funny – it won’t be.There are simply no excuses for trying to capitalize upon a tragedy, ever. It doesn’t matter if your tweets or posts are funny, somber, or reverential – there’s just no need for them. The content of your updates aside, even appearing to be coopting a tragedy for your own gain can be enough to prompt a social media backlash that could do tremendous damage to perceptions of your brand.
Something else to be mindful of is scheduling tweets. Many companies schedule their social media posts up to several weeks in advance, and it’s obviously impossible to predict where and when tragedy will strike. That said, if you’ve got social media content queued up and a major terrorist attack or natural disaster occurs, consider postponing your scheduled tweets until the media coverage dies down; posting even scheduled content during or shortly after a national tragedy can be just as tone-deaf and potentially damaging as trying to coopt or capitalize upon a disaster in the first place.
3: Have Prepared Response Plans in Place
One of the most damaging elements of an emerging social media crisis isn’t just the initial incident and the immediate fallout, but a lack of a defined, prepared disaster response plan.
Regardless of what crisis has befallen your company on social, you should know exactly what to do and who is responsible for assessing, responding to, and monitoring the development of the situation. Everybody identified in the crisis response plan should know their role and how the plan should be executed. It’s impossible to prepare for every single eventuality, but it’s amazing how many companies don’t have any form of disaster response plan ready.
In addition to preparing a detailed response plan, you need to consider the tone of your prepared responses, not just how and when to get them out. If your company really did screw up, faux apologies like, “We’re sorry you feel that way” are likely to make matters worse, not better. Genuine, sincere apologies aren’t just the right thing to do when you drop the ball – they’re what your pissed-off followers will expect (or demand), so don’t make things worse by refusing to accept responsibility or offering a weak, not-quite apology. For SEO Agency in London visit here
4: Create a Social Media Playbook for Your Company
As social media has become more sophisticated as a marketing tool, more and more companies have decided to formally codify their internal preferences and rules for employees into comprehensive social media playbooks. If you don’t have one, now’s the time to create one.
The specifics of what should be included in your social media playbook is a little beyond the scope of this post. However, the social media handbook of Oracle’s Eloqua platform is an excellent starting point for companies that are thinking about putting their own playbook together.
Your social media playbook should not only cover the aforementioned disaster response plans, but also govern how social media usage should be handled by your reps and employees. This includes elements such as the style, tone, and voice of social media content published by official handles or accounts. (It may be worth incorporating elements of your in-house style guide into your social media playbook, especially when it comes to content governance.)
The guide should also contain explicit guidelines for factors such as responding to user inquiries on behalf of your company, and general codes of conduct in a broader sense (such as apologies, as we talked about a moment ago). It should also cover rules concerning whether offending tweets or posts should be deleted (protip: they shouldn’t until a full explanation and supporting tweet/post has been published), how matters of escalation should be handled, and appropriate reporting procedures to ensure key stakeholders are kept up to spe on developing or emerging crises.
Social media guidelines for companies are very handy, but they’re not without their risks. For one, it’s unethical (and most likely illegal) to force employees to adhere to stringent social media usage policies that violate or restrict your employees’ civil liberties or freedom of speech. It’s also a very bad look to try and police the content of your employees’ social media posts, and doing so is a great way to earn yourself some negative press. Protecting your business’ reputation is important, but not at the expense of your employees’ protected rights to freedom of expression.
5: Use Two-Factor Authentication for Login Credentials
Whether the result of genuine “hacks” or simple carelessness across multiple accounts, this kind of snafu can be hugely damaging. That’s why you should consider using two-factor authentication for all social media services if available.
In case you’re unfamiliar with two-factor authentication (also known as two-step verification), this security system requires that two distinct challenges be cleared before granting a user access to a social media account. This usually involves an initial credentials check for the correct username and password, followed by a secondary check that asks the user to enter a unique login code or access key to verify the identity of the user. This is often a secondary code that can be texted or emailed to registered account holders, which is then entered into the social media service in question.
Two-factor authentication is far from a silver bullet that will prevent your social media manager accidentally tweeting a personal tweet from your corporate account – but it does reduce the risk of it happening. It also significantly reduces the risk that your corporate social accounts will be hacked, and is among the easiest and most effective security solutions at your disposal.
6: Choose Your Battles Carefully
As New Balance’s Matt LeBretton learned after voicing his support for Trump’s proposed agenda late last year, choosing sides in political battles can backfire spectacularly. However, these days, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to separate the political from the everyday, and even the most carefully curated social media brand or persona may find it impossible to remain on the fence indefinitely.
Whatever your personal or corporate politics may be, choosing your battles carefully is essential to surviving on social media. The Sleeping Giants movement, which pressures well-known brands to cease advertising on websites promoting white supremacy and other odious political ideas, has demonstrated that people are willing to support brands and companies that take a stand against hatred and bigotry.A Facebook post published by outdoor apparel retailer Patagonia speaking out against Trump’s executive order shrinking the Bears Ears National Monument in southeastern Utah
Recently, the official Patagonia social media channels embarked on a well-publicized stand against the government’s plans to shrink protected national monuments and public lands across several western states, a move for which the company and its executive team received immense support. I’d wager Patagonia’s decision to weigh in on a hotly contested, crucially important political and environmental issue didn’t hurt sales or social engagement, either, but it doesn’t change the fact that a major nationwide outdoor apparel retailer chose to publicly and openly criticize the government on social media – a potentially disastrous decision that ultimately proved enormously popular with the general public and highlights the importance of cohesive brand values on social media.
It’s important to remember, however, that you can’t please everyone, all the time, and that choosing a side can and likely will result in upsetting at least some people. Regardless of how you choose to handle these situations, the procedures in place should be clearly and fully explained in your company’s social media guidebook.