June 27, 2012
/ by ckettmann
You’re active on social media and it’s a whole lot of fun! You build relationships, find sales and lead opportunities, share some great stories, promote your products and services and connect with those who are most loyal and active with your brand.
But what about when things turn sour? What happens when the vibe turns negative and you find yourself under social media attack?
Social media gives us all great opportunities, but those opportunities also come with great risk. Risk that many companies and organizations are unaware of until they find themselves faced with an unpleasant situation that threatens the entire reputation and credibility of their beloved brand.
A social media crisis is a big deal. Some of the most powerful brands in the world have experienced great loss due to their lack of being prepared and aware of the power that each and every individual with a social graph possesses today.
The following are five reasons your company NEEDS to be prepared with a social media crisis plan:
1- You need to protect your brand’s reputation and credibility
You’re responsible for your company’s social media networking and online reputation. A social media crisis can threaten that reputation and the entire credibility of your company in a single heart beat, tweet or video upload. All of this can be avoided, however, and turned around when it happens, by simply being prepared with the right social media crisis plan.
2- A social media crisis plan alleviates much of the risk
The initial steps of developing a solid social media crisis plan include a thorough risk assessment. Within this risk assessment you’re given the opportunity to assess what risk your company or organization currently faces on social media, and the opportunity to prevent the preventable. With 76% of social media crises being avoidable (Altimeter study, 2012), this is a major advantage, and something each and every brand needs to take the time to assess.
3- You can learn to take a negative situation and turn it into a positive opportunity
Negative criticism and comments, when posted publicly for the world to see, can be overwhelming and extremely stressful. Responding to the negative comments the wrong way, or worse – *gasp* – deleting them from the page, runs the risk of having the situation spiral into a social media crisis. On the other hand, responding to the negative comment the right way, and focusing on building the relationship with your viewers, can present itself with numerous opportunities for you brand. The right social media crisis plan outlines these “right methods”, making sure that every member of your team is equipped and prepared.
4- Your whole team needs to understand their role within a crisis
Every single one of your employees is a spokesperson for your brand in the time of a social media crisis, whether you want them to be or not. They each have a social graph and the ability to broadcast news and updates about the crisis – which is not necessarily a good idea.
A thorough social media crisis plan helps you educate your team on what their role is within a social media crisis, and what messages they are aloud and not aloud to share, as well as which actions are expected of them in this stressful time. This is an enormous advantage on its own – one you don’t want to have the added stress of dealing with in a crisis.
5- You don’t need to be consumed with stress
A social media crisis is a stressful time for everybody involved. We’re talking global and viral activity that paints your brand in a negative light. Being prepared with a social media crisis plan means that you and your entire team are equipped to handle a social media crisis, allowing you to resolve it in the least amount of time, with the least amount of repercussions to your brand. That takes a whole lot of stress out of the entire situation, allowing you the opportunity to focus on the end goal: resolving the crisis and turning it into a positive opportunity for your brand.
The vicious tornado
A social media crisis can be like a vicious tornado. It comes fast, hits hard and leaves nothing but destruction in its path. Don’t let your company fall victim to a social media crisis. It takes time to build up a solid reputation and develop real relationships with your customers and fans on social media. Both are worth protecting, and both can be protected with the right social media crisis plan.
Have you prepared your brand with a social media crisis plan, and if not, do you intend to? Share your comments with me below!
* Sources: Altimeter study – link: http://www.altimetergroup.com/2011/08/research-report-be-prepared-by-climbing-the-social-business-hierarchy-of-needs.html
Melissa Agnes is a social media crisis manager, consultant and speaker. Daily blogger over at MelissaAgnes.com, Co-host of The Crisis Show and creator of the Social Media Crisis Academy, Melissa helps brands and organizations prepare and protect themselves with the right social media crisis plan.
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