Most of the brands today, have understood the importance of social media as a tool of PR. They have succeeded in building a strong online presence. But when it comes to dealing with a crisis situation that would arise on social media, many of them don’t even have a basic plan in place. It is fine if your brand is doing good and getting good comments but what will you do if you start getting negative comments? Anything on social media has a potential to spread like wildfire. Negative comments and reviews tend to spread faster. So, you need to know few basic things that will help you to go about handling any crisis that might arouse on social media.
I have listed some basic tips that you can follow while to handling a social media crisis:
1. Be alert
Google Alert is a tool that will keep notifying you about what people are talking about your company or brand. This will help you foresee a crisis that is likely to arouse.
2. Never ignore a problem
Many a times companies tend to ignore a negative comment or post. Never do this because it won’t make it go away. Nestle had done this mistake of ignoring comments from agitated Greenpeace members regarding some ingredients used in its KitKat chocolates. They also went further to delete those comments. By the time Nestle realized that they better apologize to save their reputation getting ripped off on social media, it was too late. The damage was done!
The more time you waste in ignoring the problem the more rapidly you lose your customers and fans. If people are talking bad about you, you should first find out why.
3. Don’t delete the comment/post
Deleting a bad comment or post will make only make things worse for you, just as they did in case of Nestle. It will make that person angrier and he might just go ahead and make it viral.
4. Respond immediately
You may not come up with an instant solution to the complaint posted by the disgruntled customer. But the least you should do is reply to him immediately saying that you have taken a note of his problem and you are looking into it. This would pacify him a little and rest others who happen to read all this would develop a positive attitude towards you.
5. Always be honest and sincere
When you are replying to offensive comments and posts or to complaints be honest. When you are apologising you should be sincere and sound sincere. A hollow apology will do more damage. A sincere apology with a viable solution to the customer’s problem will help you convert the angry customer into a loyal one.
6. Respond on the same channel
If people are posting bad comments on Facebook, respond on Facebook. If it is Twitter where things have gone wrong, fix them there. Once two employees of Dominos posted a video on YouTube showing them messing up a pizza. This video went viral and Dominos decided to deal with it by posting an apology video on YouTube.
This action worked in its favour and had a positive impact. The same platform where it was losing its reputation helped to regain it.
Remember, social media PR crisis can arise anytime in form of a bad comment from a disgruntled customer or an intentional negative quote or tweet from an employee. So you have to be prepared with an action plan for social media PR crisis. The good thing about social media is that you can use the same platform to first anticipate a crisis and then combat it there where it arose.
Can you suggest any more such tips to handle crisis on social media? Share them with me in comments.