Archive for social media crisis
A rant from an angry customer or a weird tweet from a CEO can quickly become a PR nightmare if it’s not handled correctly. At Expion‘s Racing Ahead 2012 social business summit, social media experts discussed worst-case scenarios and how to prevent them.
Altimeter‘s Jeremiah Owyang said that problems tend to erupt on Saturdays, when people are home for the weekend and have nothing better to do. Although the drama usually lasts only a day or two before trailing off, it sure doesn’t feel that way to the people who are stuck cleaning up the mess. “Like a car crash,” he said, “time slows down.”
In a morning keynote, Owyang (pictured right) presented some key findings from his research report, ”Social Business Readiness: How Advanced Companies Prepare Internally,” which was based on input from 140 social media program managers at companies with more than 1,000 employees.
Most people seemed to feel that social media crises were on the rise. Although some situations were doomed from the start, Altimeter’s research showed that 76 percent of the social media disasters the companies reported could have been avoided if the companies had been better prepared.
The biggest problem, participants said, was a lack of infrastructure. The solution? Here were the best options:
- Fix Internal Processes - 59%
- Empower Crowd to Respond to Each Other – 44%
- Streamline with New Technologies – 33%
- Hire More Staff – 29%
- Outsource to Agencies – 15%
- Respond to Fewer Conversations – 7%
Because many Facebook pages are a hybrid of personal and corporate accounts, it’s hard to tell “who owns what,” said Owyang. It’s important to take inventory of every page that your company owns and to be mindful of pages that may have been set up by fans or other third parties.
In today’s market, “every company is a media company,” said Owyang. Corporations in all fields now have professionals with titles like “content strategist” or ”editor-in-chief” who unify the company’s voice across multiple channels.
In general, companies should have a governing body that authorizes other departments or branch locations to have their own pages – a sort of “hub and spoke” model. The average social media team, the study found, has 11 employees, consisting of corporate social strategists (1 – 2), social media managers (2), community managers (3), social analysts (1), web developers (1 – 2), education managers (0 – 1), and business unit liaisons (1 – 2).
These people can divide up what Owyang said will become the most important tasks in social media management: intense response, social broadcasting, platform campaign marketing, distributed brand response, and tailored service and support.
In an afternoon panel, Warner Bros. direct to consumer marketing VP Michele Edelman described a situation far worse than an irate customer. On July 20, a gunman disguised as the Joker opened fire on unsuspecting moviegoers at a midnight screening of Warner Bros.’ “The Dark Knight Rises” in Aurora, CO, killing 12 people and wounding numerous others.
Although the social web erupted with comments and photos in response to the tragedy, the studio pulled back, allowing local authorities and news reporters who had rushed to the scene to do their jobs. ”‘Dark Knight’ wasn’t a [social media] crisis,” Edelman said. “It was just a crisis.”
But she was proud of how her company handled the public. When director Christopher Nolan issued a statement, he focused his heartfelt message on the victims and their families, which Warner Bros. posted on the Dark Knight Rises Facebook page and other web properties to share with concerned fans. Remembered Edelman, “People said it made them cry.”
New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.
Reputation can affect purchase decisions and influence the growth or decline of a business.
Many businesses are using social media to develop online reputations, manage and respond during a crisis and monitor the conversation to prevent future crises.
Try searching your company and product names to make an assessment of your online reputation. What do you see in the top 10 search results?
What follows are three tips to help you manage your reputation with social media.
#1: Establish Your Online Reputation
When someone Googles your brand name, your business should be sitting right there on the first page waiting for the user. And yourbrandname.com shouldn’t be the only branded search result.
Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social brand pages should assist in owning the first search engine results page. Especially if you have a common name, owning your brand name search queries is important for users to find the right information.
Social media can help you create a stronger online presence, so old news doesn’t turn up at the top of search results. If you don’t control your brand, someone else may post inaccurate or derogatory information that could tarnish your reputation.
Take a look at the search results from Lululemon. The first result is for their website, but the next four listings are all social media channels that they own or have the ability to edit and monitor.
According to a click-through rate study published by Slingshot at the end of last year, the number-one ranking on Google gets about an 18% click-through rate and the number-two organic listing gets about 10%. Regardless of the actual percentage, the data proves that the first search engine results page is the most important for your brand’s reputation.
The reason you want to control several of your first page search results is if a crisis strikes and you have set up several social channels, your brand will have plenty of platforms ranking well to disseminate your message.
These branded channels help push down negative or competitor results that you don’t want representing your brand.
Creating social media profiles has given people the channels to voice their joys and complaints about your company. Owning your social media profiles can help you better control and manage the conversation, so you can respond in a timely manner.
If you aren’t marketing with social media, those conversations are going to happen on other channels that may prohibit you from getting involved in the conversation.
#2: Control Responses During a Crisis
A crisis for a company can range from unexpected website issues to a lawsuit. How a crisis is handled online makes a huge difference to the future ramifications. It’s important to monitor and respond to customers who write on your wall or send you messages to resolve any issues and let users know they’re heard.
Facebook was one of the channels Anthropologie used for announcing a huge online sale in May. Right after they posted about the event, the site went down for maintenance. It didn’t take long for Facebook users to complain and point out that they couldn’t get to the site to buy any products.
The social media team did not respond to every comment personally, but was smart to send out a note to fans that they were working on the issue and the site would be back up soon.
When the site was back up, a user still couldn’t access the page, so the social team provided a direct email contact to resolve the issue off of Facebook. Providing an email was a good solution because it gave the user somewhere to go to have her issue addressed.
If you can’t solve a user’s problem with a simple post, take the issue offline and out of the public eye as soon as possible.
Sometimes brand ambassadors will even step in to resolve a conflict for you. Though it is helpful when customers support you enough to calm a disgruntled customer, do not assume that will be the case every time. Set up tools and a strategy to monitor the conversation, so you aren’t surprised with the conversations happening about your brand.
#3: Monitor Conversations
Now that you’ve created and are updating several social profiles on behalf of your brand, you may find it a bit overwhelming to keep up to date with what is being said about your brand online.
Savvy businesses are monitoring their brand for mentions with social media monitoring tools.
“Social media monitoring tools are the first line of defense when managing your online reputation,” explains Andy Beal, CEO and founder of Trackur. “Monitoring tools allow you to quickly fan the flames of any praise or fight reputation fires while they are still manageable.”
Before a negative review goes viral or enters the top 10 search results for your brand name, wouldn’t it be helpful to respond and solve the problem or take the issue offline to address?
Here are a few tools worth checking out:
- Google Alerts is a free tool that monitors all sites that Google can index with options to be notified as it happens or weekly.
- Trackur is an affordable tracking tool that monitors several social channels, as well as forums and news sites.
- SocialMention is a free tool that monitors over 70 social media properties.
Social media is real-time, so the faster your brand responds, the better your customer service will appear.
While people have the right to voice their complaints, it’s up to you to remedy the situation and turn negative comments into positive opportunities. Since social media is public, your quality customer service will be seen by other users and may influence their purchase decisions.
One company that monitors their brand name very well, especially on Twitter, is Morton’s Steakhouse. Taking a quick look at their Twitter page shows that they respond to many online mentions and try to provide the best customer service they can.
People love to feel like they are being heard and mentions of a brand are invited opportunities for a company to respond.
What Are Your Experiences?
What do you think? Do you own a business and use social media to provide customer service and news about your company? Are you a customer who has had a positive or negative experience with a company and voiced that experience online? Did the company respond? Share your experiences in the comments box below!