How to Handle a Ruff Social Media Crisis

There are stimuli everywhere that cause your dog to start barking uncontrollably. And come one bark, come all barks as one dog is all it takes to set off a chain reaction of barking of nearby dogs, essentially establishing a pack mentality of aggravated dogs. Once the barking begins, it’s hard to find the correct command to settle a dog down.

This situation draws a strong parallel to what occurs during a social media crisis. Different users will be triggered by different stimuli, and all it takes is one user to be negatively triggered by your company’s post copy to initiate what can potentially become a social media crisis. And come one comment, come all comments; all it takes is one user to catalyze a chain reaction of unhappy followers nearby. A pack mentality is challenging to break, especially once it has been established but the key is finding the correct “commands” that will help calm unhappy audiences and right the relationship between your brand and its followers.

In this article, we’re giving you our top tips for solving a ruff social media crisis. These three simple tips can help you mitigate a negative situation, and, more importantly, turn a negative situation into a positive one. So, don’t paws here and keep reading to dig up our three tips that will help you solve a social media crisis.

Identify Level of Severity

Low severity – If the issue is focused/questioning the basic services of a company and does not have the merit or reach to escalate further.

Example: “Why do you no longer offer a discount if you bring your pet into the store? I brought my pet in today for that reason.”

Mid-level severity – if the issue is voiced from a public figure/influencer or someone with a large reach. Additionally, this comment would pertain to negative or defamatory comments and/or reviews regarding the quality of the product. This could also be an inquiry that targets your brand or the perception of your company as a whole.

Example: “Just a PSA to all my fans, this is the second time I have ordered online from this company and the second time I have been disappointed. Delayed shipping and low-quality products.”

High severity – if the issue is threatening legal action or poses permanent damage to the brand or company.

Example: “My pet began to pee in the store today where pets are allowed, and the store picked up my dog roughly and put him outside! My dog is now limping, I want this company to take full responsibility for this incident and to take care of any medical costs that are forthcoming!”.

React Accordingly – The 4 A’s

A – Alacrity: Respond to the issue as quickly as possible. Take the user out of the public eye and triage them to a private form of communication such as an inbox or exchange of personal information (if they appear comfortable with this).

A – Apologize (If necessary): Apologize for the matter at hand. Keep the apology specific and neutral letting the consumer feel understood and heard.

A – Address: Address the situation and propose a plan to resolve the issue

A – Affirmation: Affirm a long-standing relationship with this user. After reaching a solution, ensure that the user knows you will be in touch with them and that they are a valuable voice to your brand and company. Nurture the relationship in the near future.

*Note that if the situation is high severity – it is suggested that with each reactive measure you consult a legal expert, so the situation is not further inflamed.

Recover & Heel – The 5 C’s

In this end phase of handling a crisis, it is important to reflect on 5 key areas to understand whether the crisis has been fully resolved and how to ensure that this type of crisis is prevented in the future.

C – Complaint Insight: Reflect on what the trigger point was for the issue. Gain insight and understanding into the angle of the complaint.

C – Conversation Reach: How far did the complaint go and how many users or audience members did it reach?

C – Content of Messaging: Reflect on the message that caused the crisis in the first place. Identify the trigger points and make it a conversation within your company as to why they are trigger points and what can be done to avoid them.

C – Crisis Platform – Identify what social platform the crisis took place on. After a crisis, you may need to strategize your use of this platform and handle it with extra caution moving forward.

C – Competitor Crisis – Research a similar issue to yours and how your competitor may have handled it. Learn from the mistakes the company made to trigger the crisis and understand their recovery process.

Dealing with a social media crisis is never a welcome experience for any brand, but by taking into consideration our top tips and ensuring you take actionable steps to learn from the crisis, you can approach a potentially negative situation better prepared and ready to care for your customers just as much as you do for your beloved pet – even during the ruff times!

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