Social media PR crises hit companies like tornados—out of nowhere and with deadly force. Really, that’s no surprise. Social media is a medium many companies still aren’t comfortable communicating in. Couple that with the fact that many companies hand their social media keys to part-time, sometimes inexperienced staff, or outside agencies that don’t have depth in the space. Then factor in the need for quick decision-making and the intense pressure of knowing that a misstep could result in tens of thousands more irate comments and real damage to customer perception and sales. It’s no wonder these crises build force like storms.
The inciting incident could be a product complaint, as in the Applebees employee relations “bruhaha,” or more recently, the furor over Rolling Stone’s cover story on the Boston Marathon bomber. It could be a complaint about company ads or messaging (as in GoDaddy’s dustup over its sexy spokesmodel). It could be an employee sharing content that purposefully or inadvertently damages the brand (Domino’s employee gross-out video is still probably the most famous case).
Read more here.