It may seem like a no-brainer, but I still see organizations who find themselves under social media attack and wait hours and – gasp – even days to respond to the crisis. Although there’s an appropriate way to respond to a social media crisis, no time is too soon to get all the facts of the crisis straight and respond to it head-on. The longer you wait, the more control you will lose. It’s a simple fact.
The simple fact: Social media crises build up their own momentum and that momentum will continue to build and spiral out of control until your brand or organization confronts and responds to the situation. The public – your customers – expect you to respond to the crisis.
When is too soon to respond to a social media crisis?
If you don’t have all the facts, if there are still some questions left unanswered, then it is too soon to release your official response to the crisis. Although you want to respond as quickly as possible, you want your response to focus on reconnecting you to your audience – so don’t give them a reason or an opening to attack you even further by responding too soon. Get all your facts straight and compose a clear message to communicate before you release your official response.
You can however release your first response to the crisis as soon as you discover its existence. This is where you begin to regain control of the situation by letting the public know that you are:
- Aware of the situation
- In the process of looking into it
- That they can count on YOU for the official statement as soon as you know more
The sooner you respond to a social media crisis, the sooner you will begin to regain control of the situation and your brand. But don’t go digging your hole even deeper by responding before you’re 100% ready. Being 100% ready includes, but is not limited to:
- Understanding all facts and details about the crisis
- Being able to answer all possible questions regarding the crisis
- Having a crisis management plan to put into place (this should be developed before the crisis ever strikes)
- Developing a clear and unified message to communicate with the public
Remember this: The sooner you understand and respond to the crisis, the sooner you will begin to regain control of the unfortunate situation.
What would you add to the response time of a social media crisis?