If you have a Twitter or Facebook, you’ve probably seen it happen before: a company or celebrity gets involved in some sort of controversy, and makes things even worse with their response over social media. It’s happened many times in the past and will happen many more times in the future. While you might think it’ll never happen to you, it doesn’t hurt to be prepared for the worst-case scenario.
So how do you respond to a disaster situation on social media and spare yourself a huge hit to your business? Here are a few tips:
- Respond as quickly as possible. The longer you hold your silence, the more the frenzy will work up while people wait for you to respond. Also, if you choose silence rather than action, it gives media and other people online the ability to form their own narrative about what happened rather than getting the truth from you. Responding quickly gives you the chance to stay in control over the situation.
- Admit your mistake. Don’t play the blame game or try to gloss over what happened; people respect individuals and companies that are able to admit their imperfections and acknowledge that they are human after all. It’s easy to default to becoming a corporate robot in these situations, but you can show a little bit of vulnerability while still staying professional about the situation.
- Don’t take yourself too seriously. Depending on the type of disaster situation, you can poke a bit of fun at yourself if it was one of your tweets or posts that got people frustrated. Don’t downplay the seriousness of the disaster, but if you crack a joke at your own expense it can help to soften up others’ opinions of you after the situation happens.
- Make amends with customers/followers. If it was a particularly damaging disaster, feel free to try to reach out to customers or followers with a special deal or giveaway as an apology.
Social media should be a fun way to get to know your customers, not something you need to worry about causing controversy with. But controversies do arise, so if one ever happens with your company you can follow these tips to deal with it!