Crisis Management social Media

In life, and in business, reputation is everything. That said, reputation is very fragile and it only takes one mistake to cause irreparable damage to your company’s image. This is especially true in the digital world where radical transparency and high customer expectations reign supreme. Ignoring strong public digital voices isn’t an option any more. Companies have to learn to not only communicate effectively in the social media age, but to truly listen to the social chatter and respond in the way that align with both brand and customer expectations.

In the online era, it becomes critical for the business of any size to have a social media crisis management plan – or even better, a crisis prevention plan – in place for those times when things go wrong. And it is truly the matter of “when” vs. “if.”

Let’s take a look at some of the ways to avoid social media disasters, prevent them from escalating, or handle things if everything goes sideways.

1. Listen and Be Present

In the past, companies like The Gap have been accused of not responding to customers’ concerns about faulty merchandise or refund issues – simply because they were not set up to handle customer service problems through their social media channels. Unfortunately, in the digital age, not listening to the social chatter or having presence on social communities can reflect badly on your brand. Even responding with a simple link to the correct website page is helpful – and shows your customers you take them seriously.

And listen! Sometimes social listening tools will pick up the chatter about a topic that you may not expect and will give you time to address it before it blows up within the social stratosphere. Most of the brand disasters could have been prevented just by picking up the early chatter and being prepared to address it before it escalates.

2. Set The Right Expectations

If you are a small business or have limited bandwidth to respond to customer inquiries in real-time, then set the right expectations upfront on the timing within which people should expect your response. 24, 48, 72 hours… Be specific and make that expectation visible to ensure it is seen. But always stick to it.

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