12 septembre 2011

Facing the challenges of social media: managing the crisis

Everyone talks about the great opportunities that social media offers to engage with customers in new ways. But, there’s another side to the story that’s less appealing.

Recent research shows the social media crises are on the rise and it seems businesses are unprepared. The good news is that 76% of the crises examined in the report could have been prevented had the brand been prepared to respond. According to the same research the top three reasons for the crises were lack of internal social media education, absence of professional staff to monitor and handle social media issues and lack of an emergency plan.

These results clearly demonstrate that despite the buzz around social media brands are not confident about using the medium when it comes to crisis situations. So how can businesses get the most out of social media and ensure they can effectively handle a potential crisis?

Taking social media seriously is maybe the most important advice to be given when it comes to managing social media crisis. Underestimating the power of the medium can have damaging consequences for the business.  Monitoring social media regularly and developing an effective strategy that enables companies to deliver a consistent message across all communication channels is a necessary step in reducing the potential damage of such an event.

Having dedicated staff to handle social media issues is also a good way to ensure that your business will be better prepared to react effectively in an emergency situation. Another important step to consider is using the social media channel to choose the direction of your social media strategy in a crisis situation. Monitoring the reaction of your target audience for example could provide organisations with useful tips on how public opinion is changing and help them select the most appropriate course of action.