You find out that a video has been uploaded to YouTube that refutes your product. What do you do next? Where do you start?
No matter how much effort you put into increasing your brand perception, incidents may occur that challenge your business’s product or service.
An example of such a media crisis occurred in 2004, when a BIC Pen brought the company, Kryptonite Locks, to its knees. A video of a BIC Pen breaking a Kryptonite lock went viral after its update to the site YouTube. Kryptonite Locks didn’t respond publicly on social media networks until a week after the original YouTube post was published. A week equals eternity on social media. Thus, it isn’t surprising that critcis bombarded the company. Kryptonite Locks could’ve lessened the blow of the incident if it had a social media disaster plan in place, and acknowledged the situation sooner.
Nowadays, social media allows issues to become viral. So why wait until after a crisis occurs to take action?
Think proactively and plan for a crisis before the incident occurs.
The first step of instituting a disaster plan is ongoing monitoring and tracking of the sentiments of customers and stakeholders. Listening long before a situation escalates may help avert the crisis from even staring or spiraling out of control. If Kryptonite Locks monitored its social media network, the company could’ve acknowledged the negative sentiment and decreased the media attention.
Possible software and tools a business may want to utilize to monitore its social media platforms are: Klout, Peer Index, Alltop, Ad Age Power150, and Twitalyzer
Additionally, institute strategies for different channels that may cause the crisis. Anticipate situations that may occur, and know where the occurrence is covered in the company policy. Actions cause reactions, which in turn cause another action. Therefore, you must have a system in place to keep actions and reactions positive and moving toward a resolution.
When making a social media crisis plan:
- List all of the brand’s communication channels
- Pre-craft unique messages for each channel
- Then decide what messages are appropriate for certain situations and what channels would be better to use
Although planning for all possibilities may be taxing, it will prove worthwhile in the end.
Adapted from “Social media and public relations: Eight new practices for the professional” by D Breakenridge