Crisis communications and social media: How to avoid the wildfire effect

By Posted in - Crisis Communications & Public Relations & Social Media & word of mouth marketing on May 15th, 2012 0 Comments

Many members of the A&D industry are active on social media – and if they have an issue with a product or service, chances are they’ll express it online.

Crisis communications in social media offers a new set of possibilities. A compliant can start with one comment and spread like wildfire, but brands also have a greater chance of catching the conflict and addressing than before online forums existed.

So, what’s an A&D brand (or any brand, for that matter) to do?

To start, I highly recommend setting up a monitoring system so you know when your company or brand is mentioned online. Google Alerts and HootSuite searches are great tools to see what things are being said about you online – both good and bad.

And if you do come across a complaint about your company, as with any crisis communications strategy, you’ll want to:

  • Address the source. Acknowledge the individual that made the negative comment and apologize for their trouble. Let them know that you’re looking into their issue and will offer an update as soon as possible.
  • Find a solution. Make it a priority to get to the bottom of their situation and find a solution quickly.
  • Follow up.¬†Once you have offered a resolution, follow up and make sure the conflict has been completely resolved to avoid having a similar issue come up again.

Listening to a person and offering a real solution will often turn a negative customer experience into a positive one. And quick action on your part, as a social media manager, can help avoid the wildfire effect when others spread the first negative compliant.

Crisis communications and customer service is often a sensitive subject in public relations. It can be a natural instinct to stick your head in the sand and pretend like the issue isn’t happening. However, the beauty of social media is that it allows us, as PR and brand managers, to not only catch these issues but solve them quickly and effectively.

To other social media managers: what’s your crisis communications plan? Would you add any actions to this list, or do you have examples to share? Let’s hear your thoughts.

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