It is inevitable, every company will encounter a crisis situation. The situation might be something very small and contained, or it could be a huge issue that affects a larger audience. Either way, the reaction to the situation often becomes a bigger deal than the actual crisis, and your entire internal team must be ready to act. Social media can be one of the best resources in these situations and it should be a component of a crisis management plan.
Most likely your audience will take to these online outlets to express their discontent or to ask questions about the situation, so here are three ways to effectively use social media in a crisis situation:
1. Provide short, real-time updates via Twitter – If you have a twitter account for your business, get tweeting! Provide updates as soon as they are available and make them short and sweet (that’s easy since you only have 140 characters of space). Encourage your audience to visit Twitter and let them know you will do your best to update them as the situation is evolving. If questions are asked, be sure to answer. The better the response here, the more likely those users will be forgiving.
2. Update Facebook and monitor - If your business page has at least two people who “like” it, add updates! If your website isn’t easily changed or doesn’t have a place to post announcements, you can use Facebook updates to provide information in a little more detail than Twitter allows. Encourage users to contact you via the best oulet (email or phone) and be sure all comments are addressed and mediated. Remember, this page can become a “venting” outlet for many and there must be someone monitoring the chatter to ensure it doesn’t get out of control.
3. Add a blog post – If your business has a company blog, add a post. Add a post during the crisis situation as an update and post-crisis to show what was accomplished and how the crisis was addressed. If your company offers something to users because the crisis involved taking ownership and apologizing, be sure to let everyone know. If your company took action in any way to resolve the issue, let everyone know. Again, sometimes the response to the crisis is scrutinized and reviewed more than the actual crisis, so this is how you can turn a bad situation around.
Be prepared. Be social. Take action.