I’ve been listening to the Great By Choice audio book by Jim Collins in the car. The message that keeps hitting home to me is that the most successful people in life and business are those who have a plan – and a plan if things go wrong or change. It’s about being proactive, rather than reactive.
So, what does any of this have to do with social media? A lot. What would happen if someone posted a negative comment about your business on your Facebook status?
I asked this question at the Mum Blogging Masterclass and the instant response from the audience was to delete it. There could be nothing worse. It looks like you’re hiding something. I don’t need to mention the media storms that have ensued after some businesses have taken that approach.
What do you do then?
Answer: Have a plan in place.
For this particular issue, the best strategy would be to acknowledge the comment and offer to provide a deeper conversation via email or another private platform. If you have an engaged audience, your fans will likely step in and defend you too.
However, not all crisis situations are as straight forward.
Here is my rather basic guide for a social media crisis management plan for you to implement NOW, not when a crisis happens:
- Use tools like Google Alerts and Social Mention to track your business name, your name and those involved in your business so you’re aware of what others are saying about you.
- It also pays to set up keywords in the above tools to monitor conversations in your niche or field.
- Be alert to the possible scenarios your business could be faced with.
- If, through the process of the above or on your own social media channels, something negative is said, DO NOT DELETE.
- As with a PR plan, determine who is going to speak and what they’re going to say.
- Acknowledge the complaint and offer to provide a deeper conversation via email or another private platform. Don’t get into discussion on your Facebook wall, Twitter account or other public platform.
- Provide followers with real-time updates on what’s happening, directing them to links for further information.
- Be honest. Never tell a lie or it will come back to haunt you. People will appreciate the honesty.
- Make sure customers feel their concerns are being heard, by responding immediately and, again, directing them to where they can find more information.
- After having provided people with regular updates, It’s a good idea to show what the outcome of the situation was.
- Another idea is to reveal what you’ve learnt from the situation and how things have changed to prevent the situation happening again.
The flip side of that is if the crisis is happening off social media, such as in the work place, you have the ability to spread the word without being filtered by the media using the above techniques. You can speak directly to your customers or clients and keep them informed. Remember, the keys are to be honest, show some understanding and be helpful.
As I said, this is just a basic guide, but I hope it has helped get you thinking – and acting!
Do you have a social media crisis plan in place?
If you’d love to learn more about increasing your reach and revenue on Facebook, learn more about my social media coaching package.