Since we started our adventure at Studio Up Web Agency Milano we had to help various companies, big and small, in solving digital problems with some good old crisis management. These situations, in which the brand is attacked for something it has done or not done or done wrong, are almost impossible to fix.
During the years we’ve developed a set of DOs that help us and our clients staying out of trouble.
1. Be there
The first mistake is being out of where things happen. Not having social media profiles keeps you out of the conversation, even when the conversation is about you. Everyone will look at your official channels for answers when something about you happens (only if you have them!).
2. Be good
This seems a bit odd, but it works EVERY-DAMN-TIME! People who interact with your brand can be rude or mean, but how you react is key for your business and its capacity of staying up even in situation. Also, if you always act the right way you’ll reduce the risk of crisis at all.
3. Look after yourself
Conversations are constantly happening around your brand, the more famous or interesting it is, the more conversations will be. Above all, if you are a B2C company or deal with politics you will surely face a huge amount of negative comments. Monitoring and analyzing all of them has to be a major part of your self-protection process. We suggest the use of web apps like Brandwatch to monitor around specific keywords, and elaborate with your Social Media Team if there’s the need of a proper response.
4. Have the right amount of information
Monitoring the comments is not enough, you’ll find out soon that many of them contain specific references you’ll have to investigate, join the dots and eventually collect the right amount of information that’ll let build a response.
5. Respond quickly
People on the internet don’t forget and rarely forgive. You’ll have to act fast and say the truth, or you’ll face more negative comments and a worse crisis to handle. Lying means postponing the problem, not answering means letting the crisis outgrow your chance to contain it.
If you’ve been good you can also expect some results from your positive actions.
Once it happened that one of our clients had a bit of a crisis on its Facebook page. This particular client has holiday resorts all over the world and someone was complaining about a place where, in June, the beach was covered in seaweeds. We saw the comment and started building a response. The first thing was to contact people at the clients’ main office who would call the director of the resort and ask for clarification. This takes a bit of a time but having the right amount of information is very important, as said before. In the meantime we were of course monitoring the comments…while we were building the response, a lady who was in the resort at the same time posted her photos showing there was a little seaweed quickly removed by the staff. In a few minutes some other users backed her story and discovered that the first client who complained was casually working for a competitor.