Six tips for managing a crisis on social networks

Here are the six principles for defusing a crisis on social media:

1) Being already present on social networks

To resolve a crisis, it is important not to start on social networks, but to be already present and understanding mechanisms. Indeed, it must already be visible and active networks that to be used by its customers in order to contact them directly through it in case of complications. In the first place, so make sure to be present on the right channels.

2) Do not react to hot

If you feel the need to immediate respond to negative comments from a client, it is reasonable to expect to observe and listen to choose the most opportune time to intervene. Too fast a reaction could stoke the fire of a potential crisis rather than soothe. Between critics, sometimes positive comments are posted and help defend society. The impact is clearly stronger if the answer to the criticism comes from a third party that has no ties with the target company.

3) Recognize the problem and make excuses quickly

In the event of a major crisis, it should show a prominent leader quickly takes things in hand. Social media is a platform perfectly suited for this. When RIM, maker of the BlackBerry, has been a major disruption to its services last year, its CEO wanted to apologize on YouTube. However, you have to pick the right time. Unfortunately for RIM, the apology was deemed too late by dissatisfied users and observers, because the crisis had lasted a few days.

4) Involve the customer service

The answers in social media should not contradict the messages communicated to customers by telephone, on the Internet and in the subsidiaries or outlets. Conflicting messages sow confusion and resentment strengthen, laying oil on the fire. The contents of crisis communication should be developed centrally and harmonized so that customers receive a coordination in the response.

5) Have human behavior

When the French mobile network O2 has faced a rebellion of disgruntled tweets in the middle of a recent outage, the operator continued to communicate with clients on social media instead of ignoring them. He responded with humor offensive messages and responses were widely shared in the twittosphère. O2 has been widely praised by customers and marketing experts for his “coolness” of social media. Follow the example of O2 could help turn a negative situation to his advantage.

6) Provide compensation to customer

It is important to make a gesture to customers who have been affected by offering compensation such as free features, a refund or vouchers. For example, following the failure affected the giant networks Orange last Friday, the operator decided to compensate its customers by creating a “free day” in September.

We must ensure, however, that compensation is appropriate and to the extent of the inconvenience. Finally, it is appropriate to make this public gesture on social networks.

Ignore its customers through social media is a high-risk strategy that can cause more harm to the reputation of the company when things go wrong. Conversely, a public company that is willing to actively communicate with customers on social networks has a powerful tool to heal its reputation and respond to a crisis.

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