The Balancing Act of Crisis Management

5 October 2022
Posted by: Jason Liebowitz

A social media crisis can happen to any company at any time; yet even the best crisis management plan can fail if it’s not executed well. While crisis management is an all-hands-on-deck situation, it’s also a balancing act. So how do you keep from losing your footing? Use these strategies to help make sure your company is standing up well during the upheaval of a social media crisis.

Assess Before Acting

It’s important to assess the situation before you react. While responding in a timely manner is vital in a crisis, make sure you’re engaging at an appropriate level.

Is it one disgruntled customer airing a complaint that has a smattering of replies from others, or has an unflattering video snowballed into hundreds or thousands, or even tens of thousands of shares? If it’s the former situation, you may be able to mitigate things quickly with a reply and then follow up with a more private mode such as email, private messaging, or a phone call. If it’s a much larger problem, obviously you’ll need a multi-pronged response.

When a patient posted a video about a medication side effect on a social media page, the pharmaceutical company that made the medication needed a response plan. LiveWorld provided content moderation for the company, had alerted them to the video, was able to develop a crisis strategy, and serve as an advisor during and after the crisis. Since most of the comments were about sympathy for the patient, and the video and conversation were not posted on the company’s page, LiveWorld decided watchful waiting was the best approach. The crisis died down and LiveWorld was also able to devise a strategy around marketing the product once the crisis was over.

Identify Misinformation

By reading the initial conversations of a crisis and then continuing to follow threads and new posts across social media, you’ll be able to pinpoint any misinformation that is circulating. This can help you craft your messaging and possibly point your audience to factual resources. Continual moderation is needed during a crisis for both listening and response.

LiveWorld provides moderation for a global financial corporation. As a part of this work, focused, specific monitoring is provided for campaigns around special events to make sure misinformation or negative posts aren’t surfacing. For example, the company sponsors an annual event for minority owned businesses. LiveWorld can constantly monitor all posts and hashtags related to the event to identify if any threaded comments are drawing higher than expected negative comments.

While you want online events or campaigns to become a trending topic, more voices joining the conversation bring the risk of things becoming negative. LiveWorld’s moderation services can investigate, rapidly contact the client, and either hide the comment or respond appropriately.

Acknowledge Without Arguing

Letting a customer or your audience know that you hear their concerns and frustrations is a solid first step. However, avoid defending yourself or getting pulled into a long confrontation. If anyone is demanding more attention, see if you can message or email them privately.

When a national retail pharmacy couldn’t fill a legally prescribed pain medication prescription for a woman with stage 4 breast cancer, the unhappy patient voiced her anger on the company’s social media page. As the moderation services provider for the pharmacy, LiveWorld spotted the post within ten minutes and began an escalation plan. LiveWorld and a pharmacy leader worked together to communicate with the patient offline using a caring and customer-service focused approach.

Pause Planned Posts

Like all marketers, you have a library of posts that have been scheduled in advance. When you’re in a crisis, place them on hold. FULL STOP! Continuing will make you appear apathetic to the crisis at hand. Also, check for any previous posts you have pinned to the top of your feed and unpin them. Once the crisis is over, you’ll need to review your most recent posts before the crisis and the scheduled posts you had paused to make sure they are still appropriate.

LiveWorld was able to help one client mitigate a crisis around a Halloween costume it was carrying that some customers viewed as offensive. Several people had tagged the company in posts on their own pages. LiveWorld advised the client to pull the product from shelves and pause all planned posts. Shortly afterward, the negative comments decreased, and the issue never made it to the client’s social pages.

Cover All Your Channels

In addition to consistent messaging and posts on your social media platforms, remember to update messaging on your website, in customer emails, and to update banner and online ads as needed. This coordinated effort should include the same strategic messaging across all channels.

Explore Moderation and Crisis Management Solutions from LiveWorld

LiveWorld provides 24/7 content moderation and crisis management across a full range of social media channels. Services include alert and escalation protocols; recommendations on how and when to respond; strategic messaging; and regular reporting that allows companies to measure moderation ROI. To learn more, email hello@liveworld.com.

See our Social Customer Support Case Study here.