One of the most important, but commonly overlooked aspects of social media marketing is crisis management. A lot of brands have amazing social media presence, but lack a good crisis strategy. When we do social media marketing for a client, we make sure our strategy is completely integrated, and this always includes crisis communication. When managed strategically, social media can be a tool to directly speak with your audience in a time of crisis. So, what is crisis management, and how can social media be used as a strategic management tool?
What is crisis management? Crisis management is any communication plan that is meant to diminish or eliminate potentially damaging messaging that can harm a brand. Crisis communication strategy can be both broad or localized depending on the type of communication needed. Crises can range from smaller issues such as disgruntled customers commenting on Facebook, to full blown meltdowns. Social media is an excellent tool to help implement your crisis communication plan because you can monitor what consumers are saying, and respond directly to them.
How can social media be used as a tool? If you’re using social media, then you know that one post or tweet has the potential to spread like wildfire. Hopefully your consumers are saying good things about your brand, but occasionally you will see negative comments. No brand is immune to this and when it happens, you want to make sure you have the right strategy to respond. Social media is a great way to monitor what people are saying and foresee a problem before it happens. Here at The Cyphers Agency, we do social media crisis management monitoring for our client The National Chicken Council. Food, particularly commodities like chicken, can have several hot topic issues that are frequently talked about. In order to be on top of these potential issues we use a social media monitoring tool called Viralheat to “listen” to what constituents are saying and respond if necessary. Viralheat will connect with all of your social media platforms from Facebook to Twitter to Youtube. By entering in specific keywords we can monitor what people are saying, the good and the bad. If we know a particular topic might become an issue, we will enter it as a keyword in Viralheat and watch what people are saying. If we start noticing a trend in negative feedback, we make sure to develop proper messaging to respond. In a lot of cases, constituents are misinformed and it is our job to send them clarifying messaging. Listening to what people are saying on social media can sometimes help us stop a crisis before it becomes a bigger issue.
Crisis communication is an incredibly important aspect to your social media marketing. With proper management, you can not only listen to what your customers are saying online, but you can respond with strategic messaging that can help to stop a problem before it happens. If you aren’t implementing a crisis communication plan, you’re already one step behind.