Why Rehearse a Social Media Crisis


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Presentation given by @KateHartley at the eModeration and Carrot Communications social media crisis demo - 19/06/13 NYC

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Why Rehearse a Social Media Crisis

  1. 1. Why rehearse a social media crisis? Kate Hartley, MD, Carrot Communications @katehartley
  2. 2. Introduction Tamara Littleton, CEO of eModeration, and I head up a social media agency and PR company respectively. The shift that social media has brought in how a crisis breaks impelled us to combine our companies’ experience and expertise in reputation management, social media and PR, to create a social media simulator. We believe an effective real-time simulated experience of a social media crisis gives you and your team the best chance of riding out a social media storm successfully; perhaps even brilliantly. A real crisis is one of the most damaging things to brand reputation. And social media really has completely changed how an issue breaks, and how we can manage it.
  3. 3. When a crisis hits, there are six things that come into play that define how a team feels and responds to a pressure situation. We call these the ‘hot seat factors ‘of a crisis: In a crisis you have to think quickly, and act quickly. Best practice says we have 15 minutes to respond on Twitter, and an hour on Facebook. This isn’t enough time to work out a strategy 1. Speed of response Hiding behind a corporate press statement could destroy everything you’ve invested in social media. Individuals tweet, and post – not companies 2. Visibility Social media means we deal directly with the public through social media channels. And the public won’t always have an objective view; personal agendas and emotion come into play. 3. Unpredictability When you hand over your message to the public you can’t control what happens to it. It’ll develop and change as it’s passed around in conversation. 4. Lack of control Everything we do is being watched, scrutinised and analysed. We’re learning from our industry peers, which means they’re learning from us – good and bad. 5. This is a young industry There’s a real fear that whatever you do in a crisis could come back to bite you. So if you take on the benefits, you have to take on the risks. 6. The boomerang effect
  4. 4. When a crisis breaks, it’s likely to be over news sites, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, blogs, forums, TV and YouTube. The first reporters to any crisis scene are citizens armed with smartphones and a Twitter account. The first videos to emerge of the devastating tornadoes in Oklahoma, or the Tsunami in Japan, were taken on mobile phones. The news of the Hudson river air landing was broken to the world by a cameraphone picture on Twitter. These are the images that became the defining pictures of the disasters. Every citizen with a phone and a Twitter account is a reporter.
  5. 5. Marketers mostly spread our message through a third party conduit: the media, or advertising, or search. Social media has changed all that. You can tell when a brand is comfortable on social media, talking direct to its followers. This is a great example of a very human error – and response – from an Oregon fire department.
  6. 6. On the flip side, you can also tell when someone isn’t very used to responding publicly, or has auto tweets set up. American Airlines responded to every Tweet about it saying ‘thank you for your support’, even when this was the message.
  7. 7. Taking an issue off your feed to someone who can help is, in principle, a Good Idea. But choose your audience. Next invited a customer to delete a Tweet where she mentioned them (alongside some fairly explicit language). Unsurprisingly, the request to ‘censor’ her post didn’t go down well.
  8. 8. BIC’s launch of Pens ‘For Her’. How did we women manage to write before we had pens in girl colours?
  9. 9. Was asking Ellen to review Pens For Her a good idea? Watch the video and decide.
  10. 10. This is a great example of the unpredictability of the public response, from UK cinema chain Cineworld.
  11. 11. These case studies don’t go away. Dave Carroll, of United Breaks Guitars Fame, is still setting our social media and customer service strategies, four years after United broke his guitar.
  12. 12. This is the Nixon Kennedy moment in social media. The time when our perception of businesses through social media, and our perception of the business of social media is shifting. The time when communicators and social media managers are stepping up. We may not be able to manage how an issue breaks. But we can control how we respond. And now, we can practice getting that response right, using simulation technology.
  13. 13. Contact Kate Hartley for information on our social media crisis simulations for brands and agencies, run in partnership with eModeration Kate.hartley@carrotcomms.co.uk Tel: +44 207 178 5052 Twitter: @katehartley