The proliferation of social media makes it a great place to communicate about crisis situations. However, the tool requires using specific strategies that allow for effective communication. Not to mention that each platform has its own rules of use. Here are some tips to capitalize on this effective marketing tool.
Effective crisis communication starts by planning ahead. By establishing a communication plan before you need it, your team is ready to go. Waiting until a problem arises can quickly cause something small to turn into a full-blown crisis. Consider including an approval process for posts, internal communication procedures and what qualifies as an actual crisis. Designate who handles what and when they handle it. For example, one person may step in at the first sign of a problem, but when it escalates, a new team member pops onto the scene. Pre-approved messages can help your team be ready to address the situation with limited notice.
Arguing is probably the last thing you want to engage in as a company. This type of communication style puts your company brand into a negative light. However, don’t simply avoid the situation either. Acknowledging there is a problem can go a long way to addressing the situation even if everything else takes time to figure out. By acknowledging the issue, your company states that they are aware of the problem and are working to fix it. This can help ease customer’s concerns, while you work on fixing the issues.
Instead of arguing on social media, opt instead to engage in social listening. Not only does this allow the company to discover the source of consumer disapproval, but it allows the company to address those issues in a meaningful way. Practicing social listening helps the company stay on top of how consumers feel about the company in general. Then this information can help the company determine what qualifies as an actual crisis and what doesn’t.
One of the most effective ways to handle crisis communication on social media is by creating a policy in the first place. This policy should be well documented and available for all team members involved with social media. Detail what is said and who can post these messages. Provide guidelines for acceptable posts including words or phrases to avoid. By following this policy, some issues can be stopped before they ever start. Consider evaluating the social media policy at least annually to address any concerns that pop up throughout the year. The platforms change, but your company can use them for effective brand communication.