There are many ways to handle a social media crisis, each of them as nuanced as the circumstance that defines your particular calamity. There’s no possible way anyone could ever creative an exhaustive list of to-do’s in response. However, I found this write-up from the Social Media Strategies Summit blog to be fairly comprehensive at a high level.
In the interest of giving bite-sized takeaways, here are the four tips that I found to be most relevant:
1) Have a plan: this doesn’t even need to be especially detailed, but should, at a minimum, include a list of stakeholders that need to be notified, expected/ideal time frames for responding, process for evaluating next steps (try not to act on knee-jerk reactions as events unfold), etc. This plan should serve more as a guide than as an actual checklist of what to do when.
2) Monitor: solid monitoring should be a part of any integrated social media program. You should be periodically surveying the digital landscape for mentions of your business, customer sentiment, competitive information, etc. Having this set up will help you to quickly identify any formulating crises and act quickly and appropriately to address them.
3) Have a flexible editorial calendar: in my opinion, if your editorial calendar isn’t flexible to begin with, then it’s not any good. You need to be able to move key messages around at a moment’s notice if the priority of managing a budding crisis warrants.
4) Document & learn: another “duh” tip, but I’m surprised by how many people overlook this. A post-mortem is always helpful and can suggest tweaks to your high-level crisis management plan moving forward.