Social media’s role in crisis communication planning

Social Media Strategies

Many times, social media is part of a consumer’s positive experience with a brand or product. But what happens when things take a turn for the worse? In a crisis situation, social media can not only help with communication, but also has the potential to create challenges for community managers.

Every organization’s definition of a crisis is different, but the idea that all should have a social media plan in place for sticky situations shouldn’t be. When things escalate quickly, it’s not easy to keep details and information straight while preparing to communicate to the public.

Create your plan in advance of a crisis

It’s important to define what a “crisis” means to your organization. Sharing this will allow staff to watch for potential crisis situations, so they are able to communicate quickly when one arises.

Walk through potential crisis scenarios with your team and create an action plan for each. Writing content ahead of time will take out the guess work when a situation occurs. You may have to tweak the copy, but it’ll be more efficient.

Set rules for communication

Determine what’s best for your brand and audience by setting communication expectations early on. Ask:

  • How quickly will you respond to a crisis situation?
  • Who will be involved in the decision-making process to activate communication?
  • What information can or will be shared in different crisis scenarios?
  • Will you share a blanket statement and/or will you respond directly to individual posts?
  • Who will the responses come from?

There are many more ways to prepare for a crisis regarding social media, but the most important thing to keep in mind is to remain transparent. Fans and followers may not be as kind as you hope in a crisis, but they will appreciate your honesty. A lack of transparency could be a deal breaker for keeping relationships with your customers.

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