How to Build a Crisis Management Strategy for Social Media
Part of public relations and what HMA does lies in crisis management and communication.
We frequently write about crises the world faces today and how they can be communicated better in blog posts like this one regarding the vaccination process.
In the past year, crisis communication has taken center stage with the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic saw businesses realize the importance of having a crisis management plan and communicating the most important information in the most effective way. With social media being a direct and easily accessible contact with customers, how do you implement a crisis management plan across all channels?
The first part of a management plan is actually creating one. This plan will allow your business to be prepared and guide you through what is to come. A crisis management plan will usually include key messaging, an action plan, external and internal communication plans and a list of contacts. For social media, it is important to draft sample posts for each social media channel that you can post at a moment’s notice if needed. The crisis plans that you create are the bones of crisis management strategy and must be put into action if a crisis arises.
Social media crisis management means posting understandable information in order to clarify the situation for followers as easily as possible. These will usually be shorter form and cover the basics, while longer forms of responses are better to post on your website.
Another tip for posting on social media is to suspend scheduled posts that are due around the time of the crisis and while you are enacting your plan, these unrelated posts going up can show a lack of awareness and should be put on the back burner while you focus on the issue at hand.
With social media being such a direct communication source, you must use it to your advantage and publicly acknowledge a crisis quickly to prevent any rumors from swirling around. Due to social media being so direct, this may lead users to comment false information about your company, it is important not to respond impulsively and instead reply professionally, politely and respectfully to prevent any future harm.
Additionally, members of the team should be made aware of your social media crisis plan and trained on the best practices and how to handle the problem just as a public relations agency would train their client. The plan should also be updated regularly to adapt with the companies and any possible crises that may appear.
If a crisis emerges, it is important to show that you care and are dedicated to adapting or changing not only for the time being, but for years to come. Authentic messaging can make a huge difference in your public perception and it will never go out of style.