Online presence for most, if not all businesses is a very valuable asset, where your brand can outspread and grow exponentially in a matter of weeks, days, sometimes even hours. However, it could also be an absolute liability that make your brand suffer dreadfully; some incidents takes place and escalate enough to be called a “Crisis”, and as negatively as the word connotes to one’s ears, it can still be utilized in different ways to gain the most benefits possible from the situation.
We gathered and came up with this to-do list to help you be ready for when the storm strikes.
The first phase will be preparing yourself and your team, and yes, the first step will be to assemble a separate team for such events ahead of time; gather up your team and get started with the preparations.
1- Define what a “Crisis” could be to your brand.
Anything that has a negative effect on your reputation. It depends on your brand’s position and general situation but crises can vary from offline on-ground problems that amplified and brought to your social media channels, to issues that were triggered and spread online.
2- Identify your key message
Know how to communicate your core values & main value proposition in a timely, well-organized manner to your stakeholders.
3- Draft your communication guidelines
Direct your team (and employees outside the crisis team) to the process now, instead of getting knocked-out being unprepared.
- Sometimes you might need to define network-specific guides or create templates.
- Create FAQs, samples, and briefs. Run trials and simulate crises scenarios to keep your team ready.
- Develop a preparedness strategy that can be modified in emergencies.
4- Use a listening tool
These tools will help you monitor updates closely and carefully, and be able to analyze large amounts of data.As crises are naturally unpredictable; basically unforeseen events develop a situation, once this arises, you’ll need to adopt some more tactics.
5- Communicate Internally
Inform your whole team and decide together on every move to handle the process properly.
6- Stop all social media schedules
Pause any posting plans, for now, at once to save yourself the embarrassment and not aggravate a sensitive situation.
7- Publicly acknowledge the problem
Explain your position to buy time and mitigate the risks, before bloggers, reporters and influencers start parasitizing on your brand.
8- Empathize but keep your distance.
Engage but don’t argue. Say sorry if you actually messed up to avoid full-on attacks. Try to handle everything in Direct Messages, away from the public eye.
9- Assess the impact of the crisis on your brand
This is another case where the listening tool comes in handy. Compare a normal week to the crisis week and focus on facts like lost followers, specific complaints, the most effective responses, negative sentiment, and overall impact on your brand.
Sometimes the negative impact can linger for months, not just a week or two, so be prepared to handle the long-term process if needed, and be sure that acting like everything is fine is never the way to go, you need to be proactive, dynamic, and offer updates & solutions (If any) as quickly as possible.
you won’t get an opportunity like this soon, making this a perfect time to re-assess your plan, make changes and start preparing again to make sure your plan is as good as it needs to be.