Optimizing your crisis management and monitoring strategy on social requires a number of good practices before, during, and after the crisis. Here are the steps you should be taking:

Whether social or political, all businesses and organizations are likely to encounter a crisis. That is why it’s necessary to plan a process of management and monitoring before a crisis occurs.

The success of your brand’s crisis management and the performance of your crisis monitoring will depend in large part on upstream preparation.

Before the crisis on social networks and the web

Social media must be precisely integrated into your management strategy and crisis watch: these channels are both amplifiers and facilitators. 65% of reputable companies believe that social media has made a crisis more difficult to manage but 55% believe that social media has made the process easier (source: ODM Group ).

A. Define the team that will handle the crisis

For your brand, it is necessary to create a team that will be on-call during a potential crisis. The team in charge of a crisis must be multidisciplinary and connected to those who manage the image and reputation of the company on a daily, off-line and on-line basis. Those who are most often in charge of managing a crisis (Risk Manager, or CEO) are not those who manage the brand’s reputation and customer relations on the web and social networks (Social Media Manager or Communications Officer).

B. Prepare the company’s presence on the web

If the organization has little or no presence on social media, conduct a reputation and presence audit in order to better understand the conversations of prospects, customers, and all communities in general who can express themselves.

Prepare or book pages of your website for the response to the crisis. Check the capacity of the server so that it can host many simultaneous visits.

C. Identify and monitor all potential sources and stakeholders

Figure out which influencers and opinion leaders are likely to relay the crisis. This is often a long process, so it’s necessary to do this as far in advance as possible. It will indeed be necessary to personally contact these influencers in order to get to know them better and chat a bit, well before a potential crisis. Maintain relationships with them. Influencers can sometimes help mitigate a crisis.

Map out all potential stakeholders. Weigh them according to their importance in the event of a crisis.

Monitor your web and social media environment and carefully define your guidelines—your keywords, hashtags, stakeholders, audience, etc. Also, monitor national, regional, specialized, and generalist media. Stay aware of the outlets and organizations that hunt brands and fan the flames of crises.

Take into account all types of online channels: paid, earned, and owned media. Internet users can express themselves or react to advertisements or messages on one of the brand’s social accounts.

Determine which products are at risk, and keep an eye on sensitive subjects and people related to your brand. In some fields, certain critical subjects or products are regularly highlighted.

Watch the competitors or key players in your brand’s field who may be affected by a crisis that could potentially affect your brand sooner or later.

Prepare your alert systems so you won’t be shocked by a crisis. Define keyword alerts (targeting sensitive subjects in particular).

Prepare the structure of your dynamic dashboards and define your key indicators (message volumes, influencer weight and media, etc.) and share your dashboards with all members of the team.

2. During the crisis on social networks and the web

A. Evaluate the severity

Here, the Community Manager, Social Media Manager, Head of Social Media, Digital Marketer, Customer Relationship Manager earn their titles by doing the following:

Go beyond social networks:

The analysis of the sites of conversations and social networks is not enough. It’s also necessary to analyze the trends of search on Google, which is even more heavily used than Facebook, for example. Thus, during a Volkswagen crisis, research trends changed in less than 12 hours, testifying to a massive crisis strongly relayed on the web.

It’s also important to stay connected to TV, radio, and print media in order to step back and differentiate the subjects inherent only to social media of the subjects also present everywhere else.

Qualify the severity of the crisis on social media:

There is obviously a big difference between a crisis that originated on social media and an external crisis that then found its way to social media. In one case, Internet users are initiators. In the other, they are amplifiers.

Crises that are native to social networks are relatively mild. With bad buzz or a small amount of dissatisfied customers, resonance won’t go beyond the sphere of whatever channel it originated on.

To assess the severity of a crisis on social networks and its impact, a number of quantitative and qualitative indicators should be analyzed:

  • Is the message volume important? A question that seems simple but in fact is required to determine benchmarks
  • Are messages relayed by influencers or opinion leaders? What is their weight? Is the message being relayed by the media?  
  • Is the message relayed on one or more social network?
  • Is the peak of negative messages punctual or do messages persist over time?

B. Adapt the response to targets

Make sure that there is a coherence between the message of the speakers on TV, press, and radio media and the messages broadcast on the web, in order not to confuse the content of the communication.

Do not overreact in the face of “simple” bad buzz. If the crisis is not one, let the markings be limited to a small community, be careful not to respond via messages that would become more visible than the buzz itself.

Avoid the effects of snowballs fomenting the crisis or developing negative messages:

  • Do not respond hot, with an inadequate response that is poorly prepared
  • Do not respond with contempt or condescension  
  • Do not delete negative messages
  • Do not automatically refer to a legal department, giving the impression of a disproportionate or impersonal response
  • Avoid irony or certain forms of humor that can be misunderstood and misinterpreted on social media

3. After the crisis on social networks

It is essential to carry out one or more post-crisis report in order to take stock of the impact of the crisis on social media and to propose recommendations for post-crisis communication and improvement of the system.

In these reports you must keep track of your customers, influencers, and products, and continue to monitor all types of channels.

Follow these steps, and you’ll get through the Trump-era of marketing just fine.

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