As your business is growing on social media, the chance of crisis rises. Especially when your audience is demanding, and your business requires time to deliver your audience’s needs.

Having worked in the social media crisis management field, I want to share with you seven tips on what to do when these critical situations arise:

1. Be prepared

Be prepared

Crisis management process is a must to have for any business either it is online or offline, even if your business hasn’t gone through a crisis before.

Social media policy is an integral part of your company’s business planning, which every employee in your company must understand and act accordingly.

2. Don’t panic 

Don't panic

If you panic, you will not be able to handle the crisis at hand. Calm down, take a breath and think about the first thing you have to do. Deal with those situations like you deal with your own and personal daily situations. The trick is to be organized.

3. Understand

understand

Make sure you listen to your audience and understand what they want. Then, communicate it internally within your company before you make any decision. If you don’t understand your audience you will not be able to make it through and probably fail.

“When it comes to crisis communications, if you always focus on building a relationship with your customers, fans and followers, you will always find yourself communicating in the right direction.” – Melissa Agnes, Social Media Crisis Manager and Consultant

4. Measure

Measure

Measure the size of the current situation and its impact; number of people tweeting, number of retweets and of course know the influence of those people in your community and how it is affecting your business. You also need to measure the sentiment of mentions during the crisis.

5. Put an action plan

Action Plan

Once crisis happens, call for a meeting with your PR team/agency, communications department, social media team/agency and all involved departments. Agree on your next step and unify your message through all your communication channels.

6. Act and be smart

Act and be smart

Touch base with your audience and tell them what they want to hear; explain what you are doing for them to contain their concerns and NEVER tell them that you are just listening. Be smart in how you interact with your audience so it won’t backfire on you.

7. Evaluate

Evaluate

After your action, evaluate your audience’s reaction by measuring all what is being said about your business along with the sentiment and compare it with your initial results.

I am pretty sure most of you have gone through a social media crisis and learned your share of do’s and don’ts. Every time you go through a social media crisis you’ll learn something new. Last piece of advice is to share what you learn with your colleagues and document the whole experience.

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Author Sabina Shawareb

Community Manager

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