It's essential that businesses have strategies in place to deal with the issue of incorrect information being leaked to the public, before their brand is tarnished in the eyes of their customers.
A social media crisis as defined by Gartner (the world's leading information technology research and advisory company):
"A crisis that arises in or is amplified by social media, and results in negative mainstream media coverage, a change in business process, or financial loss."
Due to the viral nature of Social Media, we have seen so many times, incorrect information spread like wildfire. The key to dealing with a social media crisis is to have a plan in place for when things go wrong. Monitoring systems can be developed so that you are aware of a crisis in the shortest amount of time possible, you want to know about it before your customers - before any damage is done.
"A lie can be halfway round the world while the truth is still putting its shoes on" - Mark Twain.
Brand loyalty and trust are elements that need to to be built into your crisis strategy. By acknowledging the issue and being transparent, your business is much more likely to be able to repair any damage done. Timely responses communicating updates, as well as a resolution, show that you are being proactive, which is essential to keeping your customers satisfied.
Customers need to see you deal with any issue quickly and professionally. Connect with the customer on a personal level and let them know you care, that you are dealing with the issue and reassure them as to your organisation's high standards.
By meeting the criteria we've discussed and having a good social media crisis strategy in place plus having the employees or team to implement it, your business is well equipped for whatever comes its way.
Our key takeaways for minimising social media crisis:
1) Create social media guidelines for employees or agencies who are engaging with your social media.
2) Create a social media response framework outlining how to respond to positive and negative situations.
It is absolutely essential that ALL employees are familiar with this, we can't stress this enough!
Make sure that your social media platforms are constantly being monitored and that you have set the right policies and procedures to make sure that queries are tended to in the shortest amount of time. Having these policies in place, you are ensuring that the person trusted with the response is replying with the relevant information. The best tools your staff should have to help with complaint resolution would be compassion, understanding, and how to keep calm. This will help them to minimise damage and produce positive outcomes for tricky situations.