How to Respond to a Social Media Crisis

By Megan Marshall, Tuesday, March 29, 2022
Social Media Crisis Image 1
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With the rise in social media has come the rise in importance for social media management. Maintaining your digital reputation is critical to your success, considering how much of your business is online. One bad review can make a difference. However, that is something that you should be able to easily combat. In case of a larger-scale social media crisis, you need to have a thorough game plan. After all, you can lose supporters just as fast as you gained them, if not faster. Come along as we discuss five steps to constructing your social media crisis responses.

Define What a Social Media Crisis Is

Set benchmarks with your team for what a true crisis consists of. Simply, it should be criticism that is out of the norm and could pose a risk to your company. They involve a wider audience than typical problems that can be solved by a single interaction. A crisis can range from site outages during a product launch to poor behavior by employees to offensive comments. The situation may not even happen on social media, but considering what a huge space for direct conversations with brands social media is, it is likely to end up there.

Create Guidelines for Executing Actions

Everyone who works with your social media should know what is expected of them in the event of a crisis. Coming up with templates for how to respond will ease at least a little bit of pressure at the moment. Draft general statements so that you can later fill in the blanks. This will help you with setting the right tone, and so you won’t be in a mad rush during the crisis. Without some sort of expectation of what to say, you could make matters worse. From there, flesh out the additional measures you could take, given some situation examples.

Social Media Crisis Image 2

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Work Through the Crisis Quickly

Let your executive leadership team know what is happening the moment you can. They need to thoroughly understand the situation in order to react to questions about it themselves. Once everyone is properly informed, you need to make a public acknowledgment. Otherwise, people are going to think that you aren’t actually handling it and, therefore, don’t care. Staying quiet during a social media crisis can cause more problems than not. That being said, you should give the best response you can. If time is fighting with effectiveness, focus on making sure that your writing is professional.

Assess the Impact and Keep Monitoring

How much of a negative response has your brand received? Are people still talking about the situation after you have spoken up? Were there any customers that were coming to your defense? An Agility PR Solutions report shows that 48% of marketing and PR professionals say that having the resources for a social media crisis is important. You should have tools in place for monitoring your social media, blog, and forums, as well as the news. Check out your channel insights to measure the negative conversations and loss of followers. Knowing what a normal week looks like for you will help you determine how bad things really got.

Reflect and Prepare for the Long-Term

At the end of the day, there’s only so much that you can do to sway people back to your side. It’s likely that someone will bring up the topic again at some point. That’s out of your hands. What you are capable of doing, though, is proving to your audience that you can grow from these situations. Discuss with your team how the response efforts went so that you know how to handle things even better in the future. You also need to figure out the best methods to reduce the chance of something like this happening a second time.


Now, we hope that you will never have to endure a social media crisis, period. But should the unfortunate event arise, it’s good to be prepared. You don’t want to seem out-of-touch with what’s happening outside the walls of your headquarters. Be fast, be receptive, and be willing to hit pause on everything else.

Posted in: How To, Social Media, Social Networking, WWW Learning Center

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