The Social Media Slam

Friday, 31 July 2015  |  Posted in: Articles  |  3min read

You broke the first rule of a crisis situation …you didn’t act quickly.

Social Media is a fast environment. Comments can be seen on people’s feeds within seconds of a post – and they can respond or comment just as fast. What this means is that in the blink of an eye, a comment can become a thread of hundreds – linked to your brand, whether you wrote it or not.

It’s important for most businesses to engage with customers (existing or potential) on social media. We’ve written about the various social media platforms previously but more than just identifying which platform is best for your business, a social media plan needs to take into account ‘what’ you want to communicate, the tone used to deliver that message, frequency of your posts and importantly, a crisis management plan if negative comments take over your feed.

It doesn’t have to be something posted on social media by you that is responded to negatively – it could be an action you take outside of the digital space or something others perceive to be attributed to you. Someone reports on it in a negative light on Facebook, someone else agrees or thinks your action was poor, comments further and the comment chain flows.

The first 30 minutes are crucial. Having a voice in the discussion that can shut down misconceptions or alleviate concerns will generally halt the thread in its tracks or at least change the tone of the thread and possibly pull the business out of the discussion. If you don’t respond quickly, perceptions of guilt build and comments spread to more and more feeds making a voice for the business harder to gain traction. You are starting behind the eight-ball and recovery could be difficult.

Small business has less chance for survival if attacked on social media than a corporation that can defend itself through advertising spend and promotion. If small business is attacked (with or without cause) and the brand doesn’t defend itself quickly, it could be all over.

With clients of The Digital Embassy, we discuss social media strategies & plans plus how to respond to criticism as part of our overall strategic approach. What you want to say, what meaning does it have for your customers, how will they respond and what action do you want them to take are all discussed. Being forearmed with all the information will make social media a much happier space to communicate your brand messages.

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