Key Ways to Use Social Media for Crisis Communications
You own a successful, growing business, with a great product and a steady flow of customers. You’ve worked hard to build your brand, communicating with your customers and providing exceptional customer service. Then, you see it. A customer has decided to take a complaint to the public. Most likely you’re not the first person to read it. That means there’s a possibility that hundreds of people, hundreds of potential customers, could be reading negative feedback about you in the amount of time it took you to read their post.
With social media continuously growing, giving access to communication 24/7, a negative comment about your company has the potential to make or break you. Not taking social media seriously is out of the question. Not only because of the incredible communication tools it provides but also because of how quickly information spreads. Seventy-one percent of online adults use Facebook. That’s seventy-one percent of adults globally as well as fifty-nine percent of all journalists. Those numbers can be extremely beneficial for your company but just as lethal. Knowing how to utilize social media in times of crisis helps you elevate your business above your competition and maintain good standing with current and potential customers.
If you’re planning on using social media in any way for your business you need to have a strategy. Know who is going to write as the voice of your company and what stance they should take based on your brand’s look at the issue. Tackling a crisis head-on once it’s already happened isn’t going to cut it. It’s important to know who is designated to do which tasks especially when it comes to customer service. Social media is a great place to find out what people really think about your brand but it’s also a place where negative comments about your company could go viral. Address any concerns quickly and effectively to keep a crisis from spiraling out of control. Better yet, be one step ahead.
Monitor your social media accounts for negative comments or reviews to reach out to those disgruntled customers before any major damage ensues; major damage being, your brand’s reputation being tarnished along with losing current and potential customers. Big name brands like UPS or Xbox take advantage of the speedy responses social media allows them to deliver. We’re talking response times under an hour, some even less than ten minutes. That means, yes, unfortunately, you need to be aware of all of those negative comments. Reading negative things about your business is tough but it’s also valuable feedback that you need to be aware of to show that you’re listening to your customers. That means refraining to remove negative comments from your social media page. Censoring the criticism you receive online could lead to even worse comments and a further damage to your reputation.
Utilizing social media gives you the opportunity to see what your customers are saying and actually listen to them. Listening doesn’t just mean responding - it means responding appropriately. If there’s a situation that requires a public statement and a direct response remember to address both the public and the individual directly involved. Forgetting to do either one of those leaves you vulnerable to more negative feedback. The point to all of this is to try to prevent more crises from happening, not set yourself up for more. When you are responding directly to a disgruntled customer being polite, personal and professional can go a long way. Responding quickly with empathy to an angry customer could turn them into a loyal fan. Crisis averted.
Social media is an important form of communication for businesses because of how fast information is sent and received. If you have a solid social media strategy that means you’re paying attention to the climate of conversation happening on your social media profiles. If something newsworthy has happened and your company is involved people will be flocking to social media to see what you have to say about the situation and every minute counts. If you haven’t posted any current information the public will start to draw its own conclusions and that is the beginning of an out of control situation. Your websites must be updated 24/7 with information relevant to the situation. Some businesses even make separate social media accounts to manage crisis communication and feedback immediately.
In the business world, social media can be a friend or foe. The trick is knowing what to do to make it work for you and taking advantage of the valuable feedback you can receive from your customers there. This requires monitoring and time to develop the plans you need to stay ahead of any crisis. At Leading Lady PR we know how to navigate social media and us how to work with you to implement a social media plan that can help your business rise to the top. Don’t go in without a plan. Let us help you strategize.