When it comes to a business crisis scenario, we’re talking about a very real possibility of your company facing some legitimate damage. These damages could include any of the following:
Reputation damage—customers simply stop trusting you
Lost productivity—employees lose focus, executives are forced to spend time on crisis management as opposed to their usual profit-generating tasks
Legal monies—in serious cases, you may find yourself in a legal battle, which can prove costly
Ad budget—recovering from a crisis often means new ad campaigns focused on fixing your brand, which can prove costly
In other words, we’re all one major crisis away from doing some serious damage to our companies. That being said, it makes perfect sense to do everything you can to prevent a crisis. By being proactive and spending a bit of time and money on crisis prevention, you can save lots in the long run by avoiding all the aforementioned problems.
Social Media—Your Best Friend, Your Worst Enemy
As you know, social media has transformed all aspects of life, including the way in which we do business. It’s changed how we market, how we interact with customers, and how they interact with one another. Whiles this brings us plenty of money-making opportunities, it also gives disgruntled customers the means to easily spread their gripes and complaints, and unleash a firestorm that could turn into a full-fledged crisis.
On the other hand, if you know what you’re doing, you can use your online presence to look for signs of an impending crisis, and hopefully cut it off before it has the chance to get out of hand. In other words, by properly monitoring social media, you can save yourself all the brand damage and monetary costs associated with a crisis.
Using Your Social Media to Monitor for Crises
Here are a few tips on how to use your social media to sniff out possible crisis situations.
Find your evangelists and nurture them. First of all, listen for those who adamantly support you and your “cause.” This is important for a few reasons. First of all, in the event of a crisis, they may prove to be your best defense. Secondly, by following them, you may find them engaged in conversations with detractors, attempting to put out fires for you. So paying attention could alert you of potential problems.
Listen for common themes. You’ll always have the occasional disgruntled customer. But if you find a common theme running through many complaints, well then maybe you have something that needs to be fixed. Fail to fix it, and watch your brand go down in flames.
Know the size of the fire. Trying to put out every little fire online will eat up all your time and drive you mad. That said, learn to separate potential crises into levels of risk. Low risk scenarios may be best left alone. Medium risk scenarios should be handled with care, as they should prove manageable, but may blow up if not dealt with. And of course, high risk scenarios need to be met head on.
Focus. It’s easy to get lost in social media, with so many platforms. Do your research and figure out which platforms your customers use most. Begin monitoring those. As you get the process down, you can branch out to lesser-used platforms.
Always plan for worst case scenario. Monitoring alone will do nothing. You need to make sure you have an online crisis management plan in place to deal with a crisis once pinpointed.
Do you monitor your social media accounts for potential crises? How do you go about it?