Social media storms. We seem to be surrounded them these day. On the train this morning I was reading about yet another one in the US – Appleby’s restaurant chain meltdown. You can think of BP’s handling of the Gulf of Mexico oil leak in 2010. KFC’s recent incident.

How do we handle them? And more importantly how do we handle them well?

10 Top tips

  1. Plan: Get a plan in place now – don’t get caught on the bounce when an incident hits
  2. Monitor:  Listening is the best way to know what is being said about you and to head off any potential crises. Or at the very least be aware of them in their early stages.
  3. Think: Is it something you need to respond to? Is the person/people raising the issue influential? Not all negative criticism needs to be responded to.
  4. Act: Move quickly when a crisis does hit. Don’t ignore it and hope it will go away. Engage. Your audience has high expectations these days.
  5. Engage: Break away from your usual messages and marketing strategies. Don’t regurgitate the usual lines. Answer and address. People treat brands as people now, personality is vital.
  6. Work across teams – Digital, press, stakeholders, internal comms all have something to bring to the table. I think digital bods have a lot to learn from press/PR colleagues around messaging and knowing when to back off an issue.
  7. Don’t forget mainstream media: sometimes activity needs to leave the social sphere and enter the realm of press and PR and broadcast. They still have a role to play.
  8. Internal Comms: Don’t forget to talk to your own staff  - they need to be kept up to date and are your biggest advocates
  9. Transparency: Don’t delete tweets or Facebook messages. Don’t filter out negative comments.
  10. Review: Once the storm clears – review how you handled things, what worked well, what didn’t. Learn.  Update your plans.

Do you have any more top tips?


Image used under Creative Commons from Neil T