Social Media Crisis Management

I don’t want to mention any specifics, as this could be construed as riding on the wake of a deeply shocking tragedy. However, you may be aware that a clothing company recently made a huge social media mistake by utilising the wrong hashtag trend to promote a product. When disaster strikes in this way, the effects are more catastrophic than traditional marketing avenues as the mistake can be easily shared beyond your immediate audience.

While many people may have a social media marketing plan in place, few have crisis management planned to the same degree. This is a huge mistake, as you need to be quick to respond in such a situation.

Here’s the Five Step Guide to Keeping Calm and Carrying On


Step One

Apologise. Be sincere and open in your wording. Do not use this as a place to further promote your business, and by that I mean don’t mention your company name. For example: “The team at xyz would like to apologise.” It’s obvious who is sending the message, as it will be posted from your profile. The clothing company were criticised for not acknowledging why it was a terrible thing to do; don’t wait for your audience prompt you to do this.

Step Two

Apologise on the network your originally made the mistake; unless you made a monumental error, there is no need to further draw attention to it on your website or other social networks.

Step Three

Do not place blame. The clothing company in question immediately blamed their social media team. According to their Twitter account, the team is overseas because they outsource this work and so weren’t aware what the trending topic was about and it isn’t their fault because they’re in a different time zone. < That sentence was one long string of excuses. No one cares about this. Even if you outsource your social media, it’s still your company profile, so the buck stops with you. Do not attempt to acknowledge why it happened, just apologise that it did.

Step Four

Be prepared to apologise to people individually, read each comment as it comes in, and have a set response to each. I wouldn’t advise you to respond to anyone who uses unacceptable language, as this is likely to spark further vitriol.

Step Five

Continue your social media efforts as normal, but be conservative and mindful of what has happened. You made a mistake, but this doesn’t mean you should hide under a rock. You may have some ground to make up with your loyal followers, but if you learn from your mistake and you show humility in your response, then there is no reason your marketing efforts can’t continue as normal.