Navigating Social Media Crises: A Guide to Swift and Effective Management with Social Chime

As the digital landscape continues to evolve, proactive management of social media crises is essential for safeguarding brand integrity and maintaining customer trust.

Navigating Social Media Crises: A Guide to Swift and Effective Management with Social Chime
Katie Metz // Adriana Lacy Consulting

There’s no question that social media is an indispensable tool for brands to connect with their audience, build relationships, and foster brand loyalty. But along with all of its benefits, brands that are vocal on social media also face a lot more risk - for saying the wrong thing, aligning with polarizing causes, or a myriad of other crises that can quickly escalate and damage a brand's reputation. 

From negative reviews and customer complaints to viral misinformation and PR disasters, navigating social media crises requires a strategic approach and swift action. Proactive management of social media crises is essential for safeguarding brand integrity and maintaining customer trust.  Today we’re exploring the key steps to effectively manage your brand’s social media presence, offering tips for what to do in a crisis, and highlighting how Social Chime can be a valuable ally in this process.

Monitor Conversations

The first step in crisis management is to monitor social media conversations closely. In April 2017, a video went viral on social media showing a passenger being forcibly removed from an overbooked United Airlines flight. The footage sparked outrage among viewers worldwide, with many condemning the airline's handling of the situation as excessive and inhumane. A tool like Social Chime could’ve helped the airline in this situation. Our advanced monitoring tools enable brands to track mentions, comments, and hashtags across various platforms in real time. United’s social team would’ve noticed an uptick in mentions and comments related to the brand, and likely seen the video as it was going viral, having the opportunity to chime in and rectify the situation. By staying vigilant, brands can identify potential crises as they emerge and respond promptly before they escalate. 

Respond Quickly

In the event of a crisis, time is of the essence. Social Chime streamlines the process of responding to crises by providing a centralized platform for managing social media interactions. In the singular platform, you can view what’s going on in real time, making it easier to respond alongside the conversations. With customizable response templates and automated alerts, brands can ensure timely and consistent communication across all channels.

Manage Brand Reputation

Maintaining a positive brand reputation is crucial during a crisis. Social Chime's analytics and sentiment analysis tools offer valuable insights into public perception, allowing brands to assess the impact of the crisis and tailor their response accordingly.

A good example of this was in 2018 when Starbucks faced a significant backlash and public outcry following an incident at one of its stores in Philadelphia, where two black men were arrested for sitting in the store without making a purchase. The incident sparked accusations of racial profiling and discrimination against Starbucks.

In response, Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson publicly apologized and pledged to take swift action to address the issue. The company also released a series of statements on social media platforms, including Twitter and Facebook, acknowledging the gravity of the situation and expressing a commitment to rectify the situation. By addressing concerns transparently and empathetically, Starbucks was able to demonstrate accountability, rebuild trust with its audience, and reaffirm its commitment to social responsibility and inclusivity. This case serves as a compelling example of how brands can effectively navigate social media crises and emerge stronger by prioritizing transparency, empathy, and accountability.

Implement Crisis Communication Plan

Preparation is key to effective crisis management. Social Chime helps brands develop and implement a comprehensive crisis communication plan, including predefined escalation procedures and communication protocols. By proactively identifying potential crisis scenarios and outlining response strategies in advance, brands can minimize damage and mitigate risks. 

A lot of crises could occur, but a few things to consider when planning for crisis communications include what to do if there’s employee misconduct or natural disasters. Companies like Home Depot and Walmart have disaster response teams to mobilize resources quickly and provide essential supplies. Data breaches are another big concern, and after Target and Equifax faced high-profile breaches, they’ve now established more robust cybersecurity measures. Ever so often a company will also have to do a product recall. Johnson & Johnson has historically had one of the best responses to product recalls, knowing to be transparent to build trust and remember to put the consumer first.

Learn and Adapt

After the crisis has been resolved, it's essential to conduct a thorough post-mortem analysis to identify lessons learned and areas for improvement. Social Chime's reporting and analytics capabilities enable brands to evaluate the effectiveness of their crisis response strategies and identify opportunities for refinement. By continuously learning and adapting, brands can strengthen their resilience and readiness to handle future crises.

Again, Johnson & Johnson is a great example here. After doing a post-mortem to analyze every disaster of the Tylenol crisis in 1982, which led to several deaths, they didn’t stop at recalling millions of bottles from shelves and cooperating with the law. They also changed product packaging to be tamper-resistant and ensured all employees went through crisis preparation training.

Managing social media crises requires a combination of vigilance, responsiveness, and strategic communication. With its comprehensive suite of monitoring, engagement, and analytics tools, Social Chime empowers brands to navigate crises with confidence and integrity. By proactively monitoring conversations, responding quickly, and managing brand reputation online, brands can not only weather the storm but emerge stronger and more resilient than ever before.

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