In an era with billions of people using social media, the role of social media in crisis management cannot be overemphasized. It has emerged as a critical tool for leaders and organizations in crisis management. Plus, it is super effective and fast to reach customers since most are on social media.
The unparalleled reach and speed in connecting with customers, especially considering the vast user base, make social media an invaluable asset during challenging times. Experts have agreed that social media should be at the top of any company’s crisis management plan list. As a result, this guide will explore how leaders can use social media in crisis management. Let’s dive in!
Real-time media monitoring
In a crisis, social media can be used to track and report what is being said about your company. This enables you to use real-time, 24/7 monitoring to help defuse or clarify negative comments. Likewise, negative comments will be monitored and countered swiftly. For instance, on FollowZilla, brands with Instagram accounts use their service to counter negative comments, which can help during a crisis. Social media can also help you find brand advocates in influencers and customers who support your company and want to change opinions.
Rapid information dissemination
So, social media and crisis management go hand in hand. With roughly 4.9 billion social media users, sharing information is much easier and faster. As such, brands can create concise posts and updates to share critical details. This direct, unfiltered communication bypasses traditional media and promptly reaches affected parties. Moreover, social media allows for multimedia content like photos and videos, enhancing the impact and clarity of messages. For example, you can use Facebook or Instagram live channels to address your audience.
Engage the audience
As a leader, engaging the audience during a crisis is your job. Social media provides swift communication between organizations and the general public during a crisis. Through this, your brand can engage the audience, which will help you monitor the situation and the audience’s attitude toward your organization. One of the social media crisis management examples worth emulating is Slack. In February 2022, Slack had a major outage that prevented many users from assessing their platform. Putting their user’s interests first, they offered an apology on Twitter. This act got them accolades from their audience.
Even if your brand processes the issue internally, your audience expects you to act swiftly. Check your emails because they probably have questions, and respond quickly to all their questions and inquiries. This would not leave room for any guesswork. Also, if you have a community management team, they can help you respond and keep your customers engaged using social media like Instagram.
Keep the conversation fresh
For crisis management, leaders should keep the conversations between the brand and customer open and free up. This is to prevent unnecessary discussions that might fuel up whatever is happening. Also, you should know that all eyes are on you during a crisis, so make sure you’re not making a post irrelevant to the current crisis. Your brand will come across as nonchalant, and your reputation will suffer. So, make sure you’re carrying your customers along, as this builds trust.
Coordinating volunteer efforts
During a crisis, there is usually an increase in people interested in volunteering their resources, money, and even time. As such, social media can serve as a spot for reaching out, organizing, and coordinating volunteer efforts.
Also, as a leader, you can appoint someone to create groups or hashtags to connect volunteers with specific needs or relief initiatives. This enables people interested in volunteering to find opportunities to contribute and make a meaningful impact within their communities.
When creating a crisis management plan for social media, what element should you start with?
We’ve got you if you’re a leader wondering what elements you need to create a social media crisis management plan. Below are examples of social media crisis management plan examples:
- When building a social media crisis management plan, leaders should first identify probable risks that could impact their organization on social media.
- Define your crisis management strategy goals in detail. Your main goal: brand protection, stakeholder safety, or financial loss reduction? You can construct a plan with the SMART guideline.
- Define who handles social media crisis management in your organization to avoid confusion.
- Create a crisis communication structure for your company. Tone, style, and important messages should be included.
- Leaders must be proactive. Therefore, closely follow the social media crisis response to safeguard your company from legal issues.
- Finally, a crisis communication and documentation system is essential. This would serve as a template for future instances.
Social media is a versatile tool in a leader’s crisis management toolkit. When used wisely, social media helps leaders navigate crises with resilience and effectiveness. This also ensures that your organization emerges stronger on the other side.