The internet can be a dangerous place. Mistakes on social media can range from posting a status with spelling errors that would make an English teacher cry to an employee purposely ruining your company’s image. Having a crisis social media policy in place, however, can help quickly turn a scary situation into a resolved problem.
Crisis or Minor Mistake?
Before making a move, it is important that you assess the situation. Did a worker slip up and post the wrong date for an event, or has private information on the company been released? You must be aware of the severity and the potential impact the situation can have on your company. If only a small error, it’s no sweat to correct the mistake and move on, but larger situations call for further care and attention.
Once the level of crisis is understood, Convince & Convert CEO Jay Baer suggests acknowledging up front that there is an issue. Correcting the wrong date for an event on Facebook is a must, but also sharing a post stating the date-change will prevent confusion. For a more serious issue, time is vital. Respond on the channel the issue began on; continue this process on all your social media channels. Baer suggests creating an FAQ page about the crisis to save time and prevent misinterpretation of your responses.
Gather Your Team
Being prepared in advance for a crisis is necessary. You should create a contact list with people in your business that would be helpful for dealing with a crisis situation. A social media policy should not be one-sided. Yourself, HR, marketing, an outside lawyer and other relevant people should be added into your equation to assist with preventing and solving a social media crisis. You can also use workers to repair the damage. Baer stresses that your employees can be potential spokespersons for the company. Inform every worker that a crisis has occurred and ask them to defuse any concerns they may see.
Do you remember eating dessert before dinner and having to apologize to your parents? More likely than not, you weren’t actually sorry and your parents could tell. A social media policy cannot help unless you are genuinely sorry. Letting everyone know you are sorry and being sincere about it can go a long way.
Restoring Your Image
Even after apologizing, your business might have a damaged name. Bernd Schmitt, executive director of Columbia University’s Global Brand Leadership Center, suggests turning the negative publicity into an opportunity to create an improved brand. A crisis can gain public notice from your customers and the media, so you can use the attention to reduce associations with the scandal and promote new images and ideas about your company. Empathizing your company’s values, commitment to the community, positive leadership and so on can help you reshape your company.
Learn a Lesson
After a problem is solved, you can’t leave it forgotten. Document the occurrence and be sure that it doesn’t happen again. Schmitt advises recording the process you and your team took to resolve your social media crisis. What worked? What didn’t work? Having this information accessible can aid and prevent future crises.
A crisis on social media can get ugly, but it doesn’t have to make or break your company. A social media policy can be used to resolve small and large issues.