3 Steps to Respond to a Social Media Crisis

Chances are there is a customer out there somewhere that has had a negative experience with your brand. Whether they were unhappy with the product, service itself or the customer experience, it’s only natural that a brand will sometimes miss the mark.

When this happens, social media is one of the first places customers are visiting to share their experience. The only resolution more popular for a consumer complaint is to deliver it in person, and with most customers having the ability to do both, this can leave your brand in a vulnerable position.

We understand that panic can arise quickly after a brand discovers negative feedback being shared on social. No one likes being negatively talked about! Whether it’s negative reviews being left on Facebook, customer complaints about orders arriving late or incorrect, or unflattering photos being shared, a single social media post can spiral into a full blown crisis without the proper response.

Knowing how to respond to different scenarios on different platforms takes experience and knowledge. With the right training and preparation, however, you can equip your team with the tools needed to get ahead of a social media issue before it becomes a crisis.

Here are 3 basic steps to responding to a social media crisis.

Have a quick meeting with your team

If something is popping up across social media, it’s important that your social team communicates that quickly to the appropriate corporate team members. Having an internal open and honest discussion about what is appearing and what you’re going to do about it is key.

This first step shouldn’t be a long process as negative messaging on social media can spread quickly, but it’s a crucial first step to making real progress in resolving the issue.

Once your internal team is aligned on next steps, then it’s time to craft your public response.

Keep in mind that everything shared between the internal team doesn’t need to be made public, but it’s important that there is a plan in place to resolve the issue.

Craft your message 

What you say in response to what’s being shared online can go a long way to diffusing the issue or making it spiral out of control.

If the complaint is legitimate and there has been an error on your part, it’s important to acknowledge that you missed the mark, apologize for it and offer some kind of resolution that the customer can respond to in a private message.

It’s key that you move the conversation into a private setting, like messenger, where you can sort out the details without airing more “dirty laundry” on your public page. It also helps you learn more about the incident and those involved which gives you a good start on resolving the problem.

Keep in mind that anything, even a private DM can be screenshot and shared further, so always keep your crafted messages friendly and personal while maintaining a professional tone.

We typically recommend messaging like “we are so sorry you had this experience, can you please DM us with details so we can work on the best resolution” to help accomplish the goal of taking the conversation offline. Additionally, personalizing the response by using the customer’s name (be sure to spell it correctly) goes a long way in making them feel like they are truly being heard and the brand isn’t just “copy-and-pasting” one mass response to everyone.

Be proactive in monitoring your channels

Once you’ve responded to the negative comments, taken the conversation offline and agreed upon a resolution, it’s still important to keep a close eye on the conversation to be sure that nothing brings the issue back to the forefront.

If you see additional comments, follow the same steps to take the conversation offline and learn more about why the customer is still upset.

Always be sure to follow up with the appropriate members of your internal team to be sure that the resolution you offered is being executed.

With social media increasingly being one of the first places a customer will go to share a bad experience, it’s crucial that your team is constantly listening to the online conversation around your brand.

And when something negative does pop up, remember these 3 tips.

If you would like to learn more about how to navigate a social crisis, email us or call (214) 458-5751.