How to Handle a Social Media Crisis: It’s all about your reaction

Social media is great for business—most of the time. It’s a great place to showcase your business and engage with customers, but sometimes mistakes happen or crises occur.

Businesses should handle these situations with care. Social media gaffs can happen in an instant and get out of control before you know it. You don’t want to make these instances worse, but you can’t neglect the situation.

If you have a social media crisis on your hands, here are some tips for handling the situation:

  1. Plan Before the Crisis

Because most businesses are on social media these days, you should create a plan for when a crisis occurs. Crises can include anything from a problem that your business is inadvertently involved with, an angry customer, or general social media mistake. Being prepared will help you be proactive when issues arise.

The plan should include how to respond to negative comments and when to release a statement. Should you disable commenting, or hide or delete posts? Also, identify the person responsible for handling crises and make sure they have clear instructions for what to do.

  1. Keep an Eye on the Situation

Things can get out of hand quickly on social media, so you have to stay on top of it. Keep track of anything and everything, including negative hashtags, number of reactions, comments, and shares. What are people posting? How far has the crisis extended? Understanding the scope of the situation will help you create a plan for what to do.

  1. Own Up

How you handle a social media crisis can make or break your business. People will notice, and remember (for at least a little while). Having a clear plan and assessing the situation are essential first steps, then you have to take responsibility. This may mean posting a statement on social media and responding to comments—both good and bad. People will appreciate your transparency.

No one wants or expects a social media crisis, but they can pop up from time to time. Handling the situation with care is essential to diffusing it and moving on.