Crisis in the Social Media Era
How do you manage a crisis in this era?
The rise of social media has made public relations difficult as far as managing a crisis is concerned. The increased difficulty arises from the fact that social media is highly effective at disseminating information at high speed. Moreover, social media has acquired a reputation for being effective at spreading negativity whenever an incident of note happens.
In the event that a company is involved in an incident that stirs a crisis, this event is not only picked up and spread on social media but also amplified negatively. In light of this, it is important to understand some of the key steps that a public relations professional should take to manage a crisis in the social media era.
Engage your Audience
Whenever a company finds itself in a crisis, it is bound to be picked up by social media users on the platforms where most of the conversation about the crisis will happen. However, social media is filled with uninformed individuals who will spread rumors about crises that are both untrue and unfounded.
To counter such rumors, the company should take part in the conversation and engage with its audience for the purpose of squashing any developing rumors about the stories. In doing so, the company will keep its audience on social media informed about the facts of the matter while dispelling all untruths.
Engage in Genuine Conversation
While engaging with its audience on social media during a crisis, a company should take care to avoid prepared corporate statements. Such statements communicate inauthenticity and its audience will feel disengaged from the company. Instead, the team engaging with the audience on social media should engage in fresh and genuine conversations that show a high level of understanding of the crisis.
Any statements that contain familiar, scripted-sounding corporate language will lead the audience to believe that the company is not ahead of the crisis, and is hence resorting to vague statements that can be recycled for multiple occasions. Additionally, a genuine engagement will win sympathy from the audience as it will see genuine efforts of dealing with the problem at hand.
Monitor the Conversation
Monitoring the conversation on social media is an important step in dealing with a crisis in the social media era because of the speed at which conversations on social media evolve. From the time a crisis begins to the time it ends, conversations on social media can evolve from one subject to another in a matter of seconds. Therefore, public relations professionals should not assume that addressing one overarching issue is enough.
On the contrary, PR professionals should constantly monitor the conversation to pick up any developing tangent to a crisis story, and dispel any untruths about it immediately. In doing so, PR professionals will afford the company the chance to clear its name as soon as each potentially damaging story arises. Moreover, it will deny untruths about a company during a crisis.