It’s been a few weeks since I did a Q&A Monday, so I thought I’d answer one of my fabulous reader’s questions for today’s post! This week’s question comes from reader, Miguel Lopez-Quesada:
“I am very interested in multicountry & cross border social media crisis. How to handle issues which are in different stages of development in different parts of the world when you have a global brand? Which are the KPIs or red flags alerting us about the fact that a potential social media crisis is becoming a real one?”
This is an excellent 2-fold question. Let me begin by answering the first part to this question:
How to handle issues which are in different stages of development in different parts of the world when you have a global brand
While it depends on the specifics of the situation or crisis at hand, it’s always very important to respond to the leading threat. For example, if you have a crisis situation that has launched into a full-blown attack in one region and you only notice the discussion and speculation just starting to begin in another region, then you absolutely need to begin by responding to the crisis where it has struck, while your monitors continue to monitor the discussions, shares and online activity in the other regions.
But remember! Social media and the Internet have an instant and viral potential. This means that just because an online attack or crisis is taking place in one region and not another, doesn’t mean that within mere minutes it may not be going viral and global. That’s why the majority of the global brands with whom I work and develop social media crisis plans often include within their definition of a global online crisis: “any crisis or potential crisis situation that has, or has the potential to have, an online presence. Any such situation needs to immediately be escalated to the Global Social Media Crisis Response Team.”
In other words, once the crisis develops any form of online presence, it should immediately be classified as “global” and responded to and managed as such.
Jonathan Bernstein of Bernstein Crisis Management Inc. makes an excellent point when he says:
“If issues management procedures are created correctly, with accompanying training, all relevant personnel will know how to coordinate with each other for global issues.”
Tony Jaques, writer of the regular online issue and crisis newsletter, Managing Outcomes, explores this further when he states:
“It is this sort of situation which reinforces the need for the co-ordination and discipline which comes from a formal crisis response plan. When a crisis spreads to different parts of the world it is essential to be able to filter out “noise” from real impact, and that is sometimes difficult when big brands tend to drive a home-country agenda. Even though it may be intuitive to conclude that centralisation provides the greatest level of control in a crisis, this is just the time when global brand managers need to have trusted professionals on the ground who can provide an objective local perspective.”
Basically, if you have a thorough social media crisis plan and have trained your staff accordingly, than you are equipped with competent and thorough global social media crisis procedures that should keep your crisis teams on-track in any type of global online crisis situation. It’s always about planning and preparing in advance.
As for the second part to Miguel’s question…
Which are the KPIs or red flags alerting us about the fact that a potential social media crisis is becoming a real one?
Since the first part of this post was rather thorough, let me leave you with a few links to previous posts that I’ve written that directly and thoroughly answer this question:
- Detecting a Social Media Crisis vs. a Social Media Issue
- Identifying a Crisis and Managing it Effectively (guest post by Charlotte Lyng)
- 8 Questions to Help You Prepare Your Company for a Social Media Crisis
- Top 8 Signs Your Brand is Under Social Media Attack
When it comes to global organizations, social media crises can be a very tricky ordeal. That’s why it’s especially important for global organizations to have a clearly defined social media crisis plan and a trained staff and crisis team.
Thanks to Miguel for the excellent question! Do you have a social media crisis or online reputation management question that you’d like me to answer with a thorough post? If so, don’t be shy, send it over!