Unfortunately, most new clients come to us a bit late when a crisis occurs. Usually it is the day of the actual event and sometimes even the day after! We get questions like, can you collect all the social media mentions around the crisis and send it to our lawyers or solicitors, even for the ones that came in yesterday?
Most social media agencies and a good social media software like Engagor will help with this need, but like any good crisis programme it takes time to set-up and implement. Sadly, most clients learn that had they had a social media reputation monitoring in place, chances are the event could have been better managed and in some cases averted all together.
Key tips for social media crisis monitoring:
Selecting an Agency or Software, that’s right for you? There are two ways to go when you are looking at social media crisis monitoring, either hire an agency, like you would a PR agency, or get a contract for a year, 2 or 3, with a software provider for social media monitoring. The agency will sit down with you, research your markets and competitors and then develop a list of keywords and influencers and set-up your monitoring. They will refine the monitoring over time and report where there are any anomalies or crisis type social mentions. We know now that people on social media are far more likely to report a crisis than before the news media. You can also set-up the software yourself and manage your crisis with email alerts. Both options are not very cheap, but experience has found that if you work with an agency you will get better results as they are experts in their field and you don’t have to worry about managing the software yourself. However every business is different, so make sure you weigh up your options.
24/7 Reputation monitoring Effective social media monitoring provides you with the insights to understand and engage with the digital landscape, including bloggers, forum gurus or end users such as individual customers. Social Media Monitoring also enables you to protect your brand from reputation damage and against potential threats to your business, staff and customers. It is key that whether you are using an agency or managing the software yourself, you must ensure your monitoring has been tested and that keywords and phrases are being properly monitored.
Crisis Alerts Make sure to prepare for any eventuality. It is essential that your software or agency can provide automated crisis alerts via text or email if the need arises. For example if you are an airline and someone tweets the word “bomb” or “fire” you need to be informed in real-time as it happens. Recently, there have been several high profile examples of companies being severely criticised for lack of response and necessary communications in times of crisis, simply increasing the damage to brand reputation.
Who’s involved: PR /Corporate Comms / HR / CEOs Office / IR So who is involved? This can be complicated for large organisations. Social Media will touch many areas of your business, including the PR department, Corporate Communications, Human Resources, CEO’s office and even Investor Relations. If your company does not have a Crisis Communications Team, it is important to create guidelines that can enable your team to know when it is important to implement ‘dark sites’ and how to communicate via your social media channels.
To engage or not to engage? This will depend on your business model, but it is vital that your social media customer care agents respond the same across all channels, using the same messaging and tone of voice. You will need guidelines for how to respond to journalists and your consumers, simply not responding can have dangerous repercussions for your business. Have a plan and know when to implement it. Remember, probably best to halt your marketing campaigns during the crisis too.
Reporting: What did we learn? It is vital to learn from each crisis. Your agency or software needs to be able to provide vital statistics such as sentiment, demographics, volume of mentions, top influencers, platforms used. These are just a few that you will need. These reports should be shared with the relevant departments i.e. PR, Corporate Comms and CEO’s office.
We hope you have found these quick tips for crisis social media monitoring helpful. If you have specific questions about your own social media crisis planning, feel free to get in touch with one of our Social Media Consultants on email@example.com.
Linda Scott, Director and the Social Media Brand Experts Crisis Team
We are a world leading social media consultancy, marketing and customer care agency. This blog will keep you up to date with relevant business social media industry news and tips on how to progress your company by using social media.