How to manage a Social Media Crisis
What can you do in the face of an out-of-the-blue attack in social media? At Signal we've been preaching the importance of "crisis preparedness" from the earliest days of social media; Phil Lempert's video this morning prompts me to say this again. Social media rumors and misinformation can travel at very high speed, it is vital that businesses plan ahead and have their 'crisis story processes' in place BEFORE a problem actually emerges.
- Speed of response is critical. Get your story out in front of the public quickly, before a negative story can build momentum and take on a life of its own.
- Respond in the same medium that the attack first occurred in; make sure that the response is seen by the same audience.
- Use multiple social media channels to get the word out everywhere fast.
- Make sure that the company web site has accurate and easy to access facts about the attack.
- Have a search engine strategy in place to make sure that the facts on the web site come up first in a Google search.
- Accept that "anyone can say anything they want, whether it is true or not", and that your brand is your responsibility to actively monitor and defend.
A recent Harris Poll shows that one third of US adults share their opinions about products online, and more of these opinions are negative than positive. In the age of social media, companies have more exposure to public relations risk than ever, but they also have more and better mechanisms for rapid response as well. Businesses need to realize that social media is more than just an "optional" device for selling products and services. Today, an active social media presence is a critical defense mechanism for any public facing enterprise.