How to diffuse a #social crisis

Published by Engagement Labs on July 31, 2014

Social media is a great tool for companies and brands to engage in a two way conversation with their loyal fans. Today, with the simple click of a mouse, companies are able to reach fans across the globe in a matter of seconds. This does wonders for increasing the brand’s online presence, but it can also become a global arena for disgruntled customers to voice their discontent to millions of users at once. In other words, one “social slip” can do irreparable damage to a company’s reputation.

In the fast paced world of social media, a PR disaster can happen at any given moment. While one minute everything is running smoothly, it takes just one post to go viral before community managers can find themselves in crisis communication mode.

We all remember #mcdstories and the infamous #gettingslizzered fiascos. No one wants to go through that. When it comes to dealing with your own social crises, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, but it never hurts to keep a little cure on hand.

Here are a few key rules:

  1. Make sure your social media and communications teams work together. This will ensure there are no discrepancies in the content being relayed and correct information will always be published.
  2. Make sure you have a solid crisis communication plan in place. The plan should include everything from pre-written press releases to an approved response message for particularly noisy users. This way, when disaster strikes, you will be prepared.
  3. Decide which “fires” need to be put out first. In particularly heated crises, negative comments can come in by the thousands. Focus on the big problems first, the little ones will eventually take care of themselves.
  4. Always be honest and transparent. If you aren’t, someone is going to find out and let the world know. You are better off being upfront right away, than dealing with the backlash of lying as well.
  5. Always make sure you answer negative comments quickly, honestly, and most importantly, politely. This way, potential “trolls” or some of the more “enthusiastic” critics have less ammunition against you. The best way to deal with these types of social media users is to “kill them with kindness”.
  6. ALWAYS PROOFREAD! In many cases, the situation is bad enough as it is, you don’t want users to start attacking you for spelling mistakes on top of everything else. Plus, it’s just embarrassing.

Sticking to these rules should spare you from an Applebee’s-sized social media meltdown. Remember, with social media it’s all about being prepared, those will fully stocked bomb shelters always sleep the best.

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About eValue™:

The eValue™ score measures the effectiveness of a brand’s overall social media performance on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram and provides a score from 0 – 100. It’s the aggregate of the three subscores including Engagement, Impact, and Responsiveness that work together to create one top-level KPI. Our subscores are calculated by using hundreds of sub metrics which are then benchmarked against a hand-picked database of 75,000 verified brand accounts on each channel.

Engagement: Measures the level of interaction generated by your content and how well your community reacts to it.

Impact: Measures how many unique users have potentially been exposed to a piece of content posted by the channel’s admin through organic, viral and paid reach.

Responsiveness: Measures the rate, speed and quality of your responses to fans.