Social media is an incredible tool for marketers to propel their brand and promote products. The fast, free and limitless opportunities of the social media platforms provide, a cost-effective marketing channel and a worldwide potential consumer-base. Apart from promotions, social media is also an excellent customer support tool.
But, with such high prospects comes a greater potential for disasters. A simple mistake while addressing users on social media can lead to a crisis. Such mistakes can result in enraged consumers, trolls, and memes that can diminish a brand’s reputation.
No need to be anxious, with proper planning and execution, you can avoid such missteps that may lead to a social media crisis.
What missteps could lead to a social media crisis?
There are many examples where simple mistakes in a tweet, such as spelling and grammar caught the attention of trolls and memes. Ask Susan Boyle’s PR team that chose a simple hashtag to promote a new album without considering the possible interpretations of the hashtag (#susananalbumparty).
There are cases where employees working for the brands have made mistakes and caused a social media crisis. Blackberry chose Alicia Keys as the new Global Creative Director during the launch of the Blackberry 10.
She immediately took to Twitter to show her appreciation, but she sent out the tweet with an iPhone. Further, she claimed that her account was hacked, and she didn’t send out the tweet. Twitter users immediately put her dedication towards the brand in question and caused a major crisis for Blackberry.
The most complicated social media crisis are the ones where a brand gets involved in a racist or sexist conversation. The tweet might not be intentional, but a prank or frustration, let out by an employee.
One such case is Vodafone UK, where an employee sent out a similar tweet in the customer support forum on Twitter.
The company apologized to each user to overcome the crisis and regain the trust of its consumers.
Measures to evade social media crisis
The foremost measure to avoid a social media crisis is to curate content that appeals to the target audience and does not offend. The audience on social media is diverse and distinctive in terms of demographics, tastes, and preferences. The key here is, opt to the brand values and post content that is fitting and appealing to the target audience.
Social media team
Assigning your social media undertakings to an inexperienced team or intern may save you money but, the chances of a disaster are very high. Also, the team may prove incapable of handling a social media crisis.
It is vital to assign an experienced group of individuals capable of executing and monitoring your social media activities. A team that can act quickly, take the blame by responding professionally and has experience in building and retaining communities.
Crisis prevention plan
Social media crises cannot be foreseen or predicted, but it is crucial to put a plan in place for such scenarios. A crisis can cause panic and result in poor decision making.
Having a pre-planned strategy in place with assigned roles and strategies to implement that can help to overcome such a crisis. Although, it is essential to train employees for such situations.
Engage with followers
Marketers often view social media as a platform to increase sales. But, it is also a terrific platform for customer support. Brands can directly engage with their consumers and gain vital insights about the likes and dislikes of the followers.
Marketers can also use social media to resolve consumer complaints and improve user experience.
Acknowledge and apologize for mistakes
A simple mistake on social media can become viral and result in a crisis. It could be a mistake by the social media team or an unforeseen event. It is essential to take the measures and apologize for the mistake. Remember, the best way to seek forgiveness is to apologize before it tarnishes your reputation.
Monitor brand mentions
A lot of unsatisfied customers don’t engage directly with the brand of their poor experiences. It is essential is to identify such conversations before it becomes a social media crisis.
Marketers can use third-party tools to monitor keywords and @mentions to identify such conversations and resolve them, it can be a great customer support and feedback mechanism.
A social media crisis can happen due to various reasons. Be it a mistake by the brand itself or an unresolved consumer complaint. Usually, consumers opt for social media as a last resort to resolve their issues.
Thus, the social media team must respond immediately and professionally before the matter escalates and results in a viral social media crisis.
Social media guidelines for employees
Employees can prove to be a great tool to elevate your brand. But, apart from promoting the brand employees also post personal experiences. It is not uncommon to find employees complaining or express the pent-up frustration about the job.
These social media posts can affect the brand’s image on social media. Thus, organizations should draft a social media guideline for employees to engage in social media concerning the brand.
Learn from other brands successful crisis prevention strategies and failures
Many brands do a great job of overcoming social media crisis while others were not so fortunate. These are real-life examples that provide deep insights on the do’s and do not’s in a crisis.
It is the key to learn and formulate effective strategies to counter any social media crisis scenario.
Closing Thoughts :
Social media is a great cost-effective platform for brands to promote themselves. But, it is also a great platform for consumers to express their poor experiences, complaints and to seek a solution.
If these complaints are not identified and are unresolved, it could lead to a major social media crisis. Marketers and brands can use third-party tools to resolve such issues and avoid a crisis.
FollowersAnalysis is one such amazing tool that can help track keywords, @mentions to identify and resolve conversations so they do not harm the brand image. Do give it a try!
See you again.