How to Prepare for a Social Media PR Crisis

How to avoid a social media PR nightmare
Nowadays, almost every week, somewhere in the world there is a major brand who makes a social media faux-pas, engaging them in some form of contemporary PR crisis.

 There exist many ways that a social media PR crisis can happen i.e. a tweet that was published at the wrong time, a misspelling and typo, an external brand crisis, or a bad joke.

 In the same way you want to do everything to prevent a social media PR crisis from happening, it’s also important to be ready to deal with it if it does occur. Always think ahead, and keep up to date on strategies to stop any crisis and to mitigate the impact of one. These are the approaches we have found to be the most helpful.

 Get Prepared

 Social media feedback that is negative causes even some of the world’s biggest brands to begin panicking. To some extent, build a team that will be responsible for managing a crisis, with each individual knowing full well their required duties responding to a PR crisis.

 Secondly, have an updated stakeholders list, employees, and customers on hand who you may want to keep in the loop.

 Thirdly, have a press release or statement model/template ready to go that can be edited quickly in a time when you need to respond in a flash.

 Fourthly, identify rules that your staff will have to follow when responding to a crisis. Inform employees not to speak about any crisis with the public without obtaining the consent of the crisis team.

 Find Brand Advocates

 In a study by Nielsen, it was found that more than 92 percent of consumers trust brand ambassadors. These are the people who are considered genuine, honest and passionate about their engagement and connection to your brand.

 Having their support can lessen the blow of a PR nightmare by coming to your company’s defense when negative coverage comes to light. Focus on these relationships constantly so that if a social media PR crisis ever did occur, you can count on them to back you up.

 Do your Best to Monitor your Mentions

 Social media listening programs step outside of your subjective position, helping to analyze the greater opinion on social media as it pertains to your brand.

Media monitoring will search for mentions of industry keywords, competition, and your brand. Find words that are trending that are connected to your brand. The quicker that you spot a problem on social media, the faster you can resolve it.

 These programs provide users the chance to be notified when an abnormal number of brand mentions are found online. Unusual patterns in data can easily be spotted using these programs and they are well worth the investment for any company or brand.

Build your Own Social Media Rulebook

 Anyone using your social media should know how to communicate while under your business’ social media profiles. Some areas that are worth considering for inclusion in this social media rulebook include attention to grammar and spelling, ensuring your voice matches that of your brand, keeping up to date on the news and social contexts, asking someone else to proofread prior to posting, the need to avoid politics, and avoiding arguments with other brands.

 This social media rulebook may also contain different scenarios that could occur and the recommended responses for social media professionals to use.

 Ensuring Security

 The security of your computer is a necessity in crisis communication plans. Always ensure strong passwords and heightened PC security is maintained throughout any social media PR crisis. If there are multiple people running your social media profiles, be sure to use a program that manages all social platforms to help oversee this.

 A final note

 Don’t let the worry of instigating a social media PR crisis prevent you from using any social platforms. When/if you are well prepared and have the needed framework in place, you can guard against a social media PR crisis. At the very least, you will know what needs to be done to respond to a crisis when/if it happens. Follow the above tips, and there’s no doubt you can take on any type of crisis!

 It also never hurts to examine and evaluate the response of related and unrelated brands to crises as a way to define the most appropriate response for yourself. Always have someone double-check a post and ensure there are standards in place for posting. Even though we are talking about some serious stuff here, remember to have a little fun with social media.

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