You hoped it wouldn’t happen, but it did. Your organization is in the midst of a social media firestorm. Someone made a mistake, an accident occurred, rumors got started. Now it has gone viral.
How do you recover from this social media crisis with your reputation intact?
Breathe. Consider the issue. Don’t rush online to try to fix things before you understand what is going on.
Do not delay in responding to the issue. The longer you wait, the more time there is for speculation and rumormongering. Social media, by its very nature, spreads any comment as far as the writer’s network reaches. Unnecessary delays allow the problem to grow and become entrenched.
Notify Necessary Departments
You are looking for people to provide information, not someone to give a second opinion.Who needs to be in on this? As a general rule, public relations, customer support, legal, and human resources may need to become involved at the very beginning.
PR and customer support are particularly important team members because they will be responsible for getting your response to the outside world.
Prepare a Response
Ask these areas if they can suggest brief, appropriate statements that can be issued on social networks as well as handed to the news media if necessary. The legal department should be on hand to provide guidance and consultation as the crisis runs its course.
Your lawyers must understand that this is a time for rapid response that helps smooth the waters. It is not the time to go silent.
Review your company’s social media to get a sense of how the brand interacts with its audience. Then you can respond in the appropriate voice and attempt to take the issue private as quickly as possible.
What Does Recovery Look Like?
As far as your reputation goes, sometimes the best you can hope for is that the issue is no longer talked about.
In the meantime, make sure the issue has been taken care of and all parties agree it is resolved. Do not leave any room for speculation. Take care of these two steps and you have done your job:
- Confirm all legitimate claims have been addressed and the right parties notified.
- Confirm the correct information has been released.
A social media crisis doesn’t have to remain one for long if you identify it early, engage quickly, and involve the right people. Let the world know as soon as possible that you understand the problem and are working to resolve it. Then make sure the right information has been distributed.
With no room for rumors, a good social media recovery should be complete as quickly as the crisis began.