If you have ever managed a social media platform, then you know that there are times when things can go horribly, horribly, (did we say horribly?) wrong. You wake up, head to work, log in to your computer, and there it is. One of the unholiest of unholy posts you have ever seen. Your hands start to sweat, your blood pressure rises, and all you want to do is hide away in a dark cave where the internet can never find you.
While there is no perfect formula for handling a major media malfunction, you should try not to stress it too much. Chances are this won't be the first, or last time you'll have a social media crisis, and in order to survive it, you've got to learn to roll with the punches. So, take a deep breath, a step back, and get ready to show your boss what you are made of with the help of these social media meltdown management tips!
Before you do anything, analyze the situation and develop a plan. Crisis planning is a must, and going in blind is never advisable. There needs to be a clear understanding of what measures should be taken if a social media crisis arises. So, if your company doesn't have a social media crisis management policy in place, it may be time to make one. Some of the best plan policies can pin point what's going on in the crisis conversation, where the crisis originated, how to build a resolution for the crisis, and how to prevent future outbreaks of the same situation. Don't forget to include:
- Who will handle the social media crisis? Will you, or will you notify a higher up?
- Will there be more than one person responding?
- Will you post your message across all your platforms?
- Are there any limitations as to what you can write?
Acknowledge the situation as quickly as you can. Hey, responding to a sticky situation can be tricky, we get that, but ignoring the situation because you don't know how to respond, or don't want to inform anyone you may have slipped up, will only make things worse for you. Time is of the essence, and well, speed matters in the buzzing world of social media. Your initial response lets your audience know that you are aware of the situation, so you don't want to NOT respond for two or three days. Try to be as transparent as possible by being open, honest, and admitting when you are wrong.
Don't go on a deletion binge, that's just called denial. Deleting the posts surrounding your social media crisis will not make the issue go away. In fact, you'll probably just make things worse when the OP (original poster) finds out what you've done. Instead of calmly responding to the situation you deleted it, and now you've got a full-blown riot on your hands. The public is outraged and is posting across all your social media networks TENFOLD calling you out for deleting the post...What should you do? Simple, don't add fuel to the social-fire by deleting any posts. If the deed is done we salute you, and good luck.
Allow you customers to speak there mind, then keep calm and respond. Always remember to keep your cool when responding to a social media crisis. The very last thing you want to do is spur your customers into a public argument. Before you get angry and respond with something negative or argumentative, take a step back and analyze the situation from your customers perspective. Don't forget that if you did something wrong, own it. Instead of arguing over who or what is to blame, take responsibility. Your customers will appreciate you more for it.
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