If your company is active in social media, sooner or later a situation will occur that can become a crisis. I’ve put together 13 pieces of advice to help you minimize or even avoid that crisis altogether. You can find them in this presentation, together with some examples of where others went wrong:
Or, if you prefer, you can find the main points here:
1. Create a plan: Defining what you want to accomplish helps you avoid doing things that serves no purpose or gets you in trouble
2. Define a target audience: If you know who you’re talking to and what to talk about, it’s a lot easier to avoid mistakes
3. Understand your role: You might want to talk about your cool stuff, but get this straight: To your customers any channel can be used for complaints. Be prepared.
4. Respond to what they say: It’s called social for a reason. Not responding to questions and comments shows that you don’t really care.
5. Be realistic about who you are: When trying to engage on social media, make a realistic judgment about how your brand is viewed. And loose the rose tinted glasses
6. Take it seriously: Don’t push your social media efforts down the ladder, to an intern or someone junior who has too much already. That’s a recipe for disaster.
7. Training your staff is key: In everything from how to use tools to engagement. And teach them the fundamentals
8. Think about your responses: Tough questions and criticism doesn’t equal a crisis. But a wrong answer might create one. Take a moment to consider your response.
9. Empathy goes a long way: Of course you shouldn’t apologize unless you feel you’ve done something wrong. But make sure you don’t turn defensive or arrogant
10. Have a crisis plan ready: A documented, up to date crisis management plan can limit the damage and at times defuse a crisis altogether.
11. Teach your organization about social media: Even if they don’t work with social media, they’re most likely active there. What they do can have a huge impact. Help them help themselves.
12. Trust your staff: If you have a talented group of people doing social media for you, don’t begin to second-guess or limit them when things heat up.
13. Listen: Always follow what is being said about your brand or product online. That way you can solve a problem before it turns into a crisis.
What did I forget? Improve this list by adding your own insights in the comments below.
This post was originally published on LinkedIn in September, 2014.