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Articles Don't Let One Tweet Ruin Everything! 10 Social Media Crisis Hacks You NEED to Know

Don't Let One Tweet Ruin Everything! 10 Social Media Crisis Hacks You NEED to Know

Marketing
Vlad Kovalskiy
10 min
1353
Updated: June 26, 2024
Vlad Kovalskiy
Updated: June 26, 2024
Don't Let One Tweet Ruin Everything! 10 Social Media Crisis Hacks You NEED to Know

Social media crisis management can go unnoticed when done well but is glaringly obvious when done badly.

The unparalleled exposure that social media gives you is an incredible opportunity for business, but just as your positive announcements travel fast, errors and faux pas spread like wildfire.

How you deal with those mistakes is crucial. Crisis communication on social media has the power to save your company from a swift downfall. However, among the hustle and bustle of running a business, it's easy to overlook the hard work needed to protect yourself.

Don't fall into the trap of thinking it'll never happen to you — the stakes are too high. Maintaining your brand’s reputation is all in the preparation, which is what we're going to look at in this article.

With our ten social media crisis hacks, you'll have a solid defense against any oncoming threats from the fickle online environment we operate in, so let's get started.

What is social media crisis management?

Social media crisis management is an overarching term for the policies, strategies, and responses you have prepared to handle crises on digital platforms. These problems include negative publicity from real-life incidents, misinformation about your company, or errors of judgment that go viral.

It's inevitable for any company willing to take strategic risks and even those who try to play it safe. When danger comes your way, you need an effective crisis management plan to react quickly and safeguard your organization's reputation.

A social media crisis communication plan isn't just about putting out fires in the short term. It's about maintaining trust with your customers, investors, and internal team.

The role of social media in crisis management

For better or worse, social media is where crises often emerge and escalate. It's a perfect storm: An enormous network of potential customers to showcase your services to and a town square where companies are publicly humiliated and chastised for their mistakes.

However, it's also the fastest place to repair a reputation. With real-time updates and official branding across your social presence, you take back control of situations, engage with your audience, and resolve crises effectively.

1. Keep a close eye on activity in your social media channels

The first step in social media and crisis management is a proactive one — monitoring your social media channels for mentions, comments, and messages about your brand. It’s a basic measure, but one you really need to make a concerted effort to fit into a busy schedule.

Community management is a way of identifying potential crises early, reacting decisively, and stopping issues from escalating. Similarly, it allows you to spot positive trends and warning signs, and learn from the mistakes of others to prevent a crisis from happening.

Fortunately, you don’t need to spend every waking minute looking at your feed. Customer relationship management software (CRM) now comes with social media monitoring tools so you can avoid switching apps to actively track brand mentions. For a more passive approach, turn on real-time alerts and receive notifications when your brand is mentioned. This lets you allocate less time to monitoring while still keeping a hawk-like eye on your online reputation.

Bitrix24 is an all-in-one business platform with social media monitoring and engagement from your CRM

With Bitrix24 you can avoid scrambling around for information, desperately looking for passwords, or sending out inconsistent, badly timed messages

Try it out today!

2. Put clear guidelines in place to respond to a range of crises

When you are called upon to react to negative comments, slander, or an honest mistake on your part, you need to respond quickly and consistently. Time to call on your social media crisis management plan — a company-wide document with clear guidelines on the specific actions to take for a variety of scenarios.

Here’s a basic social media crisis communication plan:

  • Designate spokespersons for crises. They should all be trained in crisis communication and know your brand’s messaging and values like the back of their hand, ensuring consistent communication rather than ad-hoc announcements.

  • Outline response procedures for different types of crises. What requires immediate action? Who needs to be involved? How will decisions be made? These questions will help you maintain consistency, prevent overreactions, and get the green light from senior management for serious issues.

  • Dig into the details. Decide on the most appropriate channels and tools, the messages you want to convey, and the timeframe you want to do it in. This reduces panic and chaos when disaster strikes.

  • Assign clear roles and responsibilities, and run training scenarios so everyone knows what to expect.

3. Time is of the essence — respond quickly and transparently

If we've learned one thing about social media platforms, it's that there's nowhere to hide. The best strategy is to take control of the narrative before others do it on your behalf. Fast, honest responses may be painful, but they're absolutely essential.

Your social media crisis management guidelines should include timeframes. For example, a well-prepared initial announcement should go out within 30 minutes of an issue occurring, giving you a little more time to refine your next steps.

Social Media Crisis Hacks

4. Acknowledge mistakes, apologize, and communicate steps to improve

If you're in the wrong, social media crisis communication best practices mean you simply have to apologize. Refusal to take responsibility will only inflame the situation. Avoid the half-hearted “we're sorry you feel that way”, which can exacerbate things further.

In your apology, you need to address stakeholder concerns and questions. If you've had a data security breach, announce the extent of the issue and show that you have sympathy for the negative effects it has caused. Next, clearly outline what steps you're taking to resolve it.

5. Show empathy and compassion in your responses

In social media crisis management, you can't maintain a cold, corporate distance — it's not what these platforms are for. Instead, you need to humanize your brand language to reach people on their level.

In terms of content, don't just focus on yourself. Acknowledge the concerns and emotions of those affected. Let's say you've misjudged a tweet and offended a section of your customer base. “Sorry, we'll try to do better” isn't enough. You've got to show you understand how that made people feel and even ask for feedback to get a clearer idea.

Tailor interactions to address individual concerns effectively. To keep control of your messaging, channel all interactions through your CRM, whether they're direct messages on social media or via email. This record of communication means anybody on your team can speak on behalf of the organization and be fully up to date on each individual’s case.

6. Provide updates on your crisis management process

Once you’ve made your apology and contacted those affected, you might breathe a sigh of relief that it’s all over. Rookie error: You must show you mean what you say by following through on your promises and letting everyone know.

Your social media and crisis management teams have to inform your audience with regular updates on the situation. A template of scheduled posts is a great starting point, but you'll need to customize your messaging depending on the case in hand.

For example, if you've been singled out for poor sustainability practices, share the steps you've taken in the time since. Social media is the perfect place to publish engaging videos and images that show your progress and response efforts.

This kind of consistent communication is where social media crisis management meets a marketing opportunity. As you repair your image, you can reinvent yourself as an environmental champion.

Social Media Crisis Hacks

7. Redirect one-to-one crisis management to private chats

Yes, we're focusing on social media and crisis communication, but here is where a variety of communication channels come in useful.

Social media is the ideal space for general crisis management announcements, but you certainly don't want to broadcast personal grievances on a public platform.

If your crisis revolves around a late delivery for one individual, anything beyond a polite apology and an invitation to move to direct messages simply opens the door to escalation.

For more serious apologies, a thoughtful, personalized email through your customer service team will make a better impact. If you don't have a preset response in your guidelines, run your wording past a trusted crisis management team or check it with an AI writing assistant to strike the right tone. Remember actions speak louder than words, so consider offering a discount or an extra service to smoothen the situation.

8. Monitor sentiments and reactions to your efforts

Now you've made active actions, it's time to be more passive and receptive. The job isn't done after an apology and some follow-up, you need to stay flexible and handle reactions professionally.

With your social media crisis management team, decide on some metrics for success. Typical KPIs to monitor through crises include:

  • Positive and negative mentions

  • The reach of your apologies and announcements

  • Rises and falls in follower count

  • Likes and shares of your responses

Analytics have advanced to the point that they can monitor the sentiments behind comments and replies, cutting out time invested and human biases to give you a clear indication of where your audience stands. Data-driven communication allows you to respond faster and with more confidence that you're judging the mood correctly.

9. Learn from your mistakes and improve your crisis response for the future

No matter how well you prepare, there's no guarantee that your social media crisis management plan will leave you unscathed. Every crisis is an opportunity to learn and grow, and here are our top tips on how to do that.

  • Conduct post-crisis reviews to evaluate your response. There's no replacement for reaching out to your customers and other stakeholders to see how they really feel.

  • Identify areas for improvement in your approach. Those crisis management KPIs are vital for spotting exactly where you've dropped the ball.

  • Incorporate lessons learned into future plans. What did you miss? What language worked, what didn't? Take notes as you go and set up a reflection session with your social media crisis communication team once the dust has settled.

10. Stay calm and professional throughout the crisis

To wrap up our list, we've got a personal hack that takes a bit of practice but lets you think more clearly and strategically.

Sure, it's easy to say “Stay calm”, but much harder to follow through on it. Here are some workarounds to increase the likelihood of a calm social media crisis management response.

  • Stay professional, even in the face of criticism or hostility. Remember that you're speaking on behalf of your company, so any negativity is directed at the organization, not you as a person.

  • Avoid escalating tensions and exacerbating the crisis. Customer service training for your crack crisis team is essential if they're not used to a customer-facing setting.

  • Curate a culture of growth mindsets among your team. Rather than buckling under the pressure of a crisis, accept the situation for what it is and rise to the challenge.

Bitrix24: Your social media crisis management hub

When you're in the heat of social media crisis management, the last thing you want is to be scrambling around for the right information, desperately looking for passwords to a variety of apps, or sending out inconsistent, badly timed messages through a range of scattered channels.

Enter Bitrix24, an all-in-one business platform that brings together:

  • Social media monitoring and engagement from your CRM

  • All the communication channels you could need from one database

  • Dedicated customer service solutions for large-scale responses

  • Collaborative documents and a cloud-based drive to create and store your crisis guidelines

  • Customizable training schemes to give your team the skills they need to succeed

Sign up for Bitrix24 and get your social media and crisis communication strategy in place before it's too late!

Bitrix24 is an all-in-one business platform with social media monitoring and engagement from your CRM

With Bitrix24 you can avoid scrambling around for information, desperately looking for passwords, or sending out inconsistent, badly timed messages

Try it out today!

FAQs

Why should I create a social media crisis management plan?

You should create a social media crisis management plan to prepare your organization to respond confidently and effectively to crises. This helps maintain trust and credibility, minimizes reputational damage, and provides clear guidelines for communication, roles, and responsibilities.

How do I communicate during a social media crisis?

Communication during a social media crisis should be prompt, transparent, and empathetic. Use social media for mass announcements and private channels for specific complaints, and adjust your communication strategy as needed.

What are the key components of a social media crisis communication plan?

The key components of a social media crisis communication plan include:

  • Protocols for tone of voice and content

  • Key messages

  • Designated spokespersons

  • Escalation procedures

  • Response timeframes

  • Guidelines for which platforms to use and when

  • KPIs for successful crisis management communication

  • Reflection and analysis of success to implement in future strategies

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Table of Content
What is social media crisis management? The role of social media in crisis management 1. Keep a close eye on activity in your social media channels 2. Put clear guidelines in place to respond to a range of crises 3. Time is of the essence — respond quickly and transparently 4. Acknowledge mistakes, apologize, and communicate steps to improve 5. Show empathy and compassion in your responses 6. Provide updates on your crisis management process 7. Redirect one-to-one crisis management to private chats 8. Monitor sentiments and reactions to your efforts 9. Learn from your mistakes and improve your crisis response for the future 10. Stay calm and professional throughout the crisis Bitrix24: Your social media crisis management hub FAQs Why should I create a social media crisis management plan? How do I communicate during a social media crisis? What are the key components of a social media crisis communication plan?
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