Few things in the history of marketing were so beneficial to the growth of independent businesses as social media are today. Unlike the traditional forms of advertising yourself, social media marketing can be done without spending a penny (if made in-house) and uses platforms that rival the television in terms of global users and thus a potential target audience. Using it is also dead simple — you start an account, actively promote yourself, garner followers, and interact with your audience to raise your brand awareness.
The issues arise when a crisis hits your company and your social media accounts get attacked by your former supporters. Dealing with fallout like this is hard, but fortunately, according to the business continuity professionals, there are several ways to perform damage control and mitigate the financial and image threat to your company.
Among the most effective ways to stop an outrage are immediately pausing any outbound content on the page, understanding the nature of the issue, creating a thread concerning the problem, engaging in a limited response to your customers, and using visual signs to inform of any changes. Follow these tips and learn how to calm your followers and placate the situation online.
Although it may seem counterintuitive, if a big crisis hits your company, the last thing you want to do is continue uploading these cute cat memes your audience usually loves. It will only imply that you’re not acknowledging the problem, and this is, of course, what you want to avoid.
Instead, it is a good time to take a break from posting any unrelated content until you have everything in order. People will take that as a sign that the issue is widespread enough to warrant an immediate reaction and feel better that you’re taking the matter at hand seriously.
Several factors can lead to a crisis, and having a good understanding of the nature of the problem is crucial in determining how you should go about handling it. Is this a product or service failure? Is it an issue with your company/brand, such as using offensive language? Or, is it something you said offline, such as a recording of one of your employees making an inappropriate comment? Knowing this will help you understand how you should react to the situation.
If you’re looking for a way to explain the situation and inform your followers about the changes that you have already made and future actions that you will take, creating a thread is probably the best approach for you. Instead of posting comments on individual posts by your followers, create a new post on your profile with a clear-cut message that summarizes all that happened. If possible, include some sort of visual aid that displays what you are trying to say.
This way, people can follow the trail of information on their own time instead of being bombarded with messages from you. It also makes everything more transparent and allows your followers to feel more involved in the process of dealing with the issue.
The worst thing you can do when dealing with a crisis on social media is to ignore it completely. Once you have posted a thread concerning the problem, interact with your followers in a limited manner to show them that you are taking the issue seriously.
You don’t have to reply to each comment individually; just select one or two people who have posted something significant and respond to them directly. Doing this will show others that they are being heard and reduce the number of messages — if everyone replies to every post, there will be so many messages on your page that it will be impossible to keep up with them.
Visual aids are becoming more and more popular online. People love seeing visuals because they provide a better insight into what you’re saying than just words alone. If your company is using infographics in its marketing campaigns, you’re already ahead of the game. If not, try creating quality visuals that describe what happened and why you made the changes. They also work great in complementing your messages when interacting with customers on social media.
Social media sites represent a great promotional tool for your business. They can be used to target your exact demographic, raise brand awareness, and increase sales. However, social media are also tools that your disgruntled audience can use against you in the event of a crisis. For this reason, it is crucial to have a plan of action ready in case something goes wrong.
When something goes wrong, the best you can do is politely address the issue, stop posting any unrelated content, and create a thread devoted to the subject. Follow these tips to deal with the situation properly and limit the financial losses you will suffer due to it.