A social media crisis policy is a great tool to have when you want to be sure that every member of your team:
- Understands what a crisis is and means to your brand
- Knows who is responsible for handling a crisis and how to reach them
- Clearly understands their own roles within a crisis, and what is expected of them
If you currently have a social media policy for your brand, then your social media crisis policy can easily fit within it. The key is to make sure that it’s available to all members of your team, at all times.
The benefits of a social media crisis policy
When a crisis strikes, it is not the time to make sure that your staff understands what their roles are, and what’s expected of them. Trust me, that’s the last thing you’re going to want to do under this type of pressure. That’s why a social media crisis policy is so advantageous. It’s available for everybody if they have any doubts of how to respond, what they’re permitted to respond to, if they want to know who to contact to report an attack, or if they want to simply brush up on the company’s policies before embarking into the events that are about to unfold.
Besides from that, it also allows your company to remain uniform in it’s voice, answers, responses and communications. A social media crisis policy is a great tool to have!
What to include within your social media crisis policy
Your crisis policy can be as short or as long as it needs to be, so long as everything you want and need to say is within it. Don’t beat around the bush or assume that people will understand your message. Be clear and give examples where possible.
The following are some important and useful elements that you may want to consider including.
Within your crisis policy, clearly identify:
- What a crisis is and means to your brand
- Your contact flow chart
- The different people in charge of messaging, monitoring and managing the company’s different social media channels within a crisis
- Ways to communicate with these people
- Links to all social media channels that represent the organization
- The channels that will be addressed within a crisis. (Perhaps this depends on the severity of the crisis or perhaps it will always remain the same)
- Levels of degree of severity, including examples and possible scenarios to explain each one. (Sort of like a social media crisis triage)
- The amount of allowable time between posts and responses
- * Who is logging, tracking and analyzing the different degrees of the crisis, including:
- Quantity of posts
- Frequent posters (both of negative and positive sentiment)
- Posts and responses by the company
- Alternative services: If there are too many comments and posts being shared, your team may find that they don’t have the capability of properly tracking them. At this point, you’ll want to have a professional monitoring service indicated to call, such as Radian6
- * The types of comments by customers that are unacceptable and may be deleted – and the way to go about doing so
- * Your message values: the consistent message that always needs to be communicated across the board
*Logging, tracking and analyzing the different degrees of the crisis
This will help you evaluate and understand the flow of the crisis, permitting you to continue to strengthen your strategy once the crisis has been resolved.
*Customer comments: what is acceptable and what is not
It’s always a good idea to have social media etiquette guidelines posted publicly on your Facebook fan page, your blog, and wherever else customers interact publicly with your brand. Within these guidelines clearly identify the code of conduct you expect and will accept, no matter the situation. State clear consequences for not respecting this policy, such as deletion of the comment. This way, when a comment needs to be deleted, the public, as well as the offending individual will understand why such actions were taken.
I never suggest deleting a comment from a customer or fan for anything less than profanity, discrimination, or other actions that are not sociably acceptable. To learn the proper ways to handle negative criticism, click here.
*Your message values
Your message values go hand in hand with your brand values, and they are what connect you with your customers. For this reason, it is very important that you never derail from your organization’s day-to-day message, or go against your values. Instead, use them to your advantage, allowing them to reconnect you with your customers and fans during a crisis.
As you can see, your social media crisis policy is a great tool to have on hand, for every member of your staff and team. It has many benefits and advantages attached to it, and can help you keep your sanity during the unpleasantness of an attack.
Do you have a social media crisis policy for your company? Have you ever had to use it, and what are the key elements within it that you would recommend to others about to create their own? Please share your comments and insights in the comments section below!