Social Media Planning&#x2014;Getting Prepared; Thinking Ahead\nSocial media is &#x201C;real time&#x201D;; you no longer have the luxury of gathering the troops and determining what your strategy/response will be once a crisis occurs. This makes creating a policy and management plan critical and the first step to avoiding a possible social media disaster.\n&#x2663;Before You Do Anything: It is important to note that a company should NOT embark on a social media strategy following a crisis. Launching these platforms immediately following a crisis encourages detractors to follow you versus building a loyal fan base/brand ambassadors. \n&#x2663;Monitoring: Social media doesn&#x2019;t &#x201C;shut down&#x201D; over the weekend, so how is your company going to monitor your media platforms seven days a week? There are several tools&#x2014;free and paid&#x2014;that conveniently aggregate social platforms into one location to make monitoring more efficient.\n&#x2663;Team: Who is your response team, and what is your response policy? If a crisis arises on a social network platform, what is your chain of events? What approvals need to take place, and what is the company&#x2019;s internal response expectation? Who will respond to which types of comments? Creating a crisis communications &#x201C;tree&#x201D; will help align the team.\n&#x2663;Expect the Unexpected: There are different levels of &#x201C;crises,&#x201D; so knowing ahead how you&#x2019;ll respond to different types of comments is key:\n-Decide which types of comments require immediate response and which can be left alone and monitored.\n-Create a coding system for &#x201C;flagging&#x201D; negative comments so everyone is clear: e.g., &#x201C;Urgent,&#x201D; &#x201C;Wait&#x201D; or &#x201C;Monitor.&#x201D;\n-Create company guidelines, including who is authorized to post, which employees will be admitted admin access, etc.\n\n
- I&#x2019;m sure many of you have researched &#x201C;crisis communications&#x201D; on the internet and come up with a lot of resources saying the same thing. I call this the basics or the playbook. It is a great &#x201C;STARTING&#x201D; point and is very intuitive:\n- Apologize: If you made a mistake, admit and apologize. Trying to cover it up or deleting the comment will anger your community more than admitting the mistake. Think about your own personal relationships...would you respect someone more for admitting to a mistake and apologizing or deflect/ignoring?\n- Address: You admitted your mistake, now it&#x2019;s time to address it&#x2014;both through words and actions\n- Thank customers&#x2014;Show your community that you appreciate their feedback and that you take everything to heart\n- Clear up misinformation&#x2014;If there is something blatantly untrue posted to your site, clear up the information but make sure you don&#x2019;t come across as defensive\n-Listen and engage&#x2014;Social media is about engagement. Don&#x2019;t go silent when a crisis occurs. Keep the community apprised, let them know you haven&#x2019;t gone into hiding\n- Be Human&#x2014;Social media humanizes brands so be human in your response. A canned &#x201C;corporate&#x201D; response will not be as well-received as a sincere one\n-Invite an offline discussion&#x2014;Once you have done your due dilligence to address the detractor or community, invite those involved to take the conversation offline to further discuss in detail\n
- So you did everything by the book and your result was....not what you expected\n-So what can happen:\n- fueling the fire: encouraging a detractor to pick up their game\n- the comments subside and the company doesn&#x2019;t follow through with actions&#x2014;they will come back bigger and nastier\n- Over communication&#x2014;going bath and forth with a detractor is not only frustrating to you but to the community\n
\nMisguided: do they have inaccurate information? (fix the facts and hope that solves the issue, but be prepared for responses)\nUnhappy customer: post result of a bad experience (identify the issue and present a solution)\n Hillsdale issue with Cheesecake factory offer being inaccurate\n Bad customer experience\n Righted situation by presenting a $20 GC to the restaurant (cheap, easy fix that righted the situation).\n
Troll: focused only on negative comments (MONITOR)\nRager: ranting, raging, satirical? (MONITOR)\nThe Antagonist: Someone whose sole purpose in life is to &#x201C;stir the pot&#x201D;:\n&#x2663;Logic doesn&#x2019;t work in this situation; these individuals will respond negatively no matter what you post, many times raising the bar with each retort\n&#x2663;While he/she may generate some followers who have been harboring negative opinions, the majority of the community is likely just as annoyed with the antagonist as you are\n&#x2663;By participating in &#x201C;back and forth&#x201D; you can come across in a variety of lights: defensive, consistent, responsive, childish, etc.\n\n&#x2663;In the end, it&#x2019;s about the community&#x2026;not necessarily one individual. Identify your strategy based on what is truly best for the community\n&#x2663;Recognize when it&#x2019;s time to stop engaging with an individual\n&#x2663;Be careful about offline actions with an antagonist&#x2014;chances are the discussion/action will be reported online and exaggerated\n&#x2663;Unless a comment is vulgar, inappropriate or threatening, removing a comment screams &#x201C;guilt.&#x201D; Instead, focus on providing positive, informative, useful content and engage with the community\n\n\n
&#x2663;The crisis may not happen on social media, but it is important to be proactive on social media platforms following a crisis\n&#x2663;In addition to media relations, keep your social networks apprised of the situation to avoid inaccurate information spreading online\n&#x2663;E.g., a restaurant at a center had a small fire that shut the restaurant down for short period of time. Fire trucks and police were on-site taking care of the situation, and the center did their due diligence working with the restaurant, fire department and media, however they failed to proactively post an update on Facebook and Twitter to alert their online community of what had happened. Soon, both networks exploded with a frenzy of rumors about what had taken place at the center, leading to preventable social media crisis and reactive situation. The center should have simply:\noPosted a quick statement that there was a small fire at a restaurant, no one was injured and a date for when the restaurant was set to reopen\noMonitored the site frequently over the next 24 hours to answer questions and manage conversations\n\n
Oh S#!TSocial media & crisiscommunications
Oh S#!TGetting prepared; thinking aheadSocial media is real-time, you no longer have the luxury of gaterhing the troops and determiningyour strategy. Before you do anything:• Has your compnay managed a recent crisis?• Are you managing in-house or outsourcing?• Who is monitoring 24/7?• Who is your response team?• What is your response policy?• Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.
Oh S#!TRespose TreePutting a clear plan in place eases the fear of crisis, a crisis response tree is great place to start.• Examples
Positive/Neutral Comments Yellow Alert Red AlertFollowing are general guidelines for responding to positive/ • Unhappy customers • Criminal incidences pertaining to safety, theft, etc.neutral comments. • Dedicated complainers • Legal concerns involving the center or its tenantsResponse Time: 24 hours • Reputation management Response Time: 4 hoursResponse Team: Center social media team Response Time: 1 hour Response Team: Center social media team and agency (ifApproval Process: These responses do not require an necessary) Crisis Team: Center management team and agencyapproval process. Approval Process: Strategy and communication must be Approval Process: Craft response and review with approved by the center’s crisis team within one hour of beingGuidelines: <NAME> (and additional center management team alerted to the issue. Upon approval, the agency will post the1. Assess the message. members if necessary). Upon message approval, center response and monitor. social media team will post.2. Do you want to respond? Guidelines: 1. Immediately following a known occurrence or the discovery • If the answer is YES: Guidelines: of a Facebook/Twitter comment reporting an occurrence, - Provide supporting information/commentary. 1. Is the complaint warranted? Are the facts correct? schedule a conference call with the crisis team. - Monitor the conversation. • If the answer is YES: - Craft a response addressing the concern and 2. Together, the crisis team will identify a response strategy. If • If the answer is NO: alerting the author as to what steps are being taken the incident requires police attention, hold responses (other than - Monitor the discussion to see whether the to resolve the issue. Invite an offline discussion to the prepared statement) until we have spoke with authorities. community continues the conversation and further answer questions. 3. Within one hour of crafting the strategy/response, center whether future action is required. management must provide all revisions and/or approval. • If the answer is NO:Response Considerations: - Craft a response that gently corrects the facts. 4. If there is a proactive response strategy, agency will post the• Transparency: If/when responding, make sure you are Invite an offline discussion to further answer approved message and monitor for as long as deemedbeing honest and conversational. questions. necessary.• Sourcing: Reinforce responses, with stats or articles that 5. Should the issue escalate, we will revert to step 1 andsupport your message. 2. Monitor hourly over the next 48 hours and reassess, reassess follow-up actions.• Timeline: Be timely with responses but take the time to should the situation escalate.craft an accurate, relevant, engaging and conversational Prepared Statement: In the situation of a “worst case scenario,”message. such as a shooting or something of a similar nature where an• Tone: Remember that we don’t have the luxury or face- immediate response is deemed necessary or if we are unable toto-face communication, so ensure that your tone is clear gather the crisis team in a timely manner, the below prepared statement should be used:and cannot be perceived negatively.• Influence: As followers grow, brand ambassadors and “We are aware that an incident took place on site <insert timing;loyalists will emerge; make sure you are actively engaging e.g., last night>. We are currently working with our communitythese fans. partners to assess the situation and will post further details as soon as we have more information.”
Oh S#!TPlaybook—advice from around the webMonitor your social media 24/7 and think before you react (but be quick):• Aplogize when necessary• Address the problem• Thank customers for their feedback• Clear up any misinformation• Listen and engage conversation• Be human, not corporate• Invite an offline discussion
Oh S#!TCalling an audibleGuess what, people are unpredictable.• Unitentionally fueling the fire• Lack of follow-through• Over-communicating
Oh S#!TAudibleWhen logic usually works:• Misguided: do they have inaccurate information?• Unhappy customer: post result of a bad experience?
Oh S#!TAudibleWhen logic may not work:• Troll: focused only on negative comments?• Rager: ranting, raging, satirical?Lessons (from personal experience):• In the end, it’s about the community...not necessarily the individual.• Recognize when it’s time to stop engaging.• Be careful about online actions—discussions/actions will get exaggerated online• Don’t remove the post (unless vulgar or inappropriate or threatening), instead, execentuate the positive
Oh S#!TSocial Media as a Crisis ToolUsing social media as a communication tool for offline crisis.• Small restaurant fire at a shopping center.• Fire trucks and police on-site addressing situation.• Center did due diligence working w/ restaurant, fire dept. and media.• Did NOT proactively post updates to social channels. • Networks exploded with frenzy of rumors about what had taken place • Center forced to take a reactive position.In hind site:• Post quick statement with status report—small fire, no injuries, when the restaurant will reopen• Monitor over the next 24 hours to answer questions and manage conversations (rumors)