The social media space has grown rapidly in the last few years. The pandemic has made it even explode further with millions of individuals and companies depending on social media to advertise or promote their products and services.
The rapid development and influence of social media means that companies are as unlike before open to public scrutiny. There is nowhere to hide in this day and time if you mess up your online reputation. Therefore, it is important to plan in advance for any in eventuality that may occur. Planning should be done earlier before a crisis happen, when you are in the middle of a crisis it is hard to develop a plan.
Pre-crisis preparation is important to effectively handle social media crisis when it happens. But for this to happen, you have to plan in advance.
Here is how you can plan in advance for a social media crisis:
- Identify what can go wrong.
The first step in development of an effective social media crisis plan is to identify the components of your social media campaign that can potentially go wrong. The earlier you identify what can go wrong, the better prepared you will be. Develop an action plan for handling all the potential problem areas that you have identified.
- Establish some early warning signals
Once you have identified what can possibly go wrong, next, you need to monitor the specific parameters of that component. Any slight change from normal should be addressed instantly. For example, if you start noticing an increase in negative reviews about your product or page, quickly consider that as an early warning signal that things may get worse. Address the situation immediately.
- Establish a team in advance.
At any one time, you should have a team in place that is specialized in handling different aspects of your social media campaign. It can be you normal inhouse team who can be given special instructions on how to handle specific problem when they occur. For example, you can assign your marketing team to handle any product related crisis that may potentially affect your business.
- Develop the response plans.
Developing response plans is the most important stage of social media crisis management. A social media crisis response plan is a step-by-step instruction or workplan that breaks down all the steps that you and your team should take in the event of a crisis. Every member of your crisis management team should have his or her own action plan that clearly documents the steps that they will take once they receive the relevant signal.
- Carry out a Post-crisis analysis.
It is good practice to always carry out a thorough analysis of the response and the action taken to resolve a past crisis. The lessons learned from a past crisis will be used to develop and improve future plans of action.
Lastly, your customers are the most important component in your social media crisis management plan. Once you have managed to resolve a crisis, you should keep you clients close and keep the updated all the way as you resolve the crisis. Even after the crisis is over, you should keep engaging with your customers. Consistency is a key component in regaining the trust that the client had for your business or/and services and will help you get back to normal business after the crisis