Social media is now an integral part of any brand’s marketing strategy. In fact, 89% of marketers say social media is important to their company’s success.
However, it isn’t without its risks. As brands continue to adopt new social media channels, more and more opportunities arise for users to voice their opinions on a brand or its products.
In the event that these opinions are negative or damaging, the dangers of social media are made very apparent. An unfortunate post from a disgruntled employee or customer can go viral in minutes and have lasting consequences for your business.
Moreover, as most users are connected through these platforms, this means that any potential crisis will almost certainly be caught by thousands of onlookers rather than just one or two journalists from local newspapers or magazines. The implications of this could be dire for your company if you aren’t prepared for when things go awry.
The digital world is unforgiving and mistakes are easily amplified. In an era where everyone has the ability to upload content in a matter of seconds, social media crisis can take a brand from trending to tanking in just as many clicks.
The only way to combat this is by having a plan in place before something goes wrong. A social media crisis can be triggered by several factors – some unexpected, some preventable. No matter what the catalyst, staying ahead of the situation can help mitigate the damage and position your brand for recovery.
Whether it’s competitors releasing negative information or a natural disaster hitting your city, knowing how to handle each scenario will make all the difference in keeping your reputation intact.
Social media has amplified this scrutiny to a whole new level. When things go wrong, it can lead to a social media crisis that could damage your brand’s reputation beyond repair.
In this blog post, we’ll be looking at the 5 types of social media crises and how you can handle them all. Keep reading to find out more!
What is a social media crisis?
A social media crisis occurs when a brand’s reputation is harmed by something that happens on social media. It can happen for a variety of reasons, but the general idea is that when a major event happens related to a brand, it can have a drastic effect on its reputation, sometimes even leading to a loss of customers or damage to the company’s reputation.
These crises can be the result of anything that happens online that damages a brand’s reputation. This might be something employees post on social media that is offensive, something that happens with employees or leadership that is seen online, a mistake in content management, fraudulently marketing products or any number of other factors.
A brief history of social media crises
While social media has been around since the early 2000s, it wasn’t until the mid-2010s that we saw a noticeable increase in social media-related crises.
There are a few theories as to why this was the case. One is that the increased usage of social media (especially by businesses) created more potential for mishaps.
But another theory is that the increased usage of social media came about just as the world was getting more sensitive to certain issues, such as racism and discrimination.
When these issues came to the surface in social media posts, they often led to a crisis. Social media crises have become so common that there are now standard responses that most businesses will follow when they experience one.
This can make handling a crisis easier, but it doesn’t make the experience any less scary. Even when you know what to expect, you never know when a crisis might strike.
With a good social media management plan and a proper response strategy in place, you can minimize the damage a crisis can do to your brand.
Why are social media crises so important?
Social media crises can have a major impact on a brand’s reputation and can cause long-term damage at a very quick pace.
When you’re able to nip a crisis in the bud, it often leads to a quick recovery, but when you don’t know how to respond properly, it can lead to major problems.
A study found that 58% of consumers said they would take their business elsewhere if they experienced a poor social media experience. That number jumps up to 77% when the incident involves a brand’s bad behavior.
In a world where the average person spends 1 hour and 20 minutes per day on social media, it’s important to be prepared to handle any crisis that might come your way. The best way to do this is to have a social media crisis response plan in place.
Which Type of Social Media Crisis Should You be Ready for?
As we’ve discussed, social media crises can come from a variety of sources. Some might be completely out of your control, but there are others that you can be prepared for by having a strategy in place.
Here are some of the most common types of social media crises you might encounter:
Mistakes in Content Management:
This is one of the most common types of social media crises. It happens when you publish content that is misleading, inaccurate, or inappropriate.
It could be in the form of a blog post, article, video, or image. It could even be a statement made by one of your executives. It doesn’t matter if your intentions are good. If your content is misleading or if it contains false information, you could face a social media crisis.
Your best bet is to be extremely careful when publishing content. Get your facts straight, and double-check everything. Don’t be afraid to take a second look and ask someone else to look at it too.
Even if you make a mistake on social media once, you could receive a backlash that could take a long time to recover from.
This type of crisis comes from a mistake in content management. This might be something as simple as a typo on a blog post, or it could be a more serious problem, like posting a recipe that doesn’t follow FDA guidelines.
Fake News or Fraudulent Marketing Practices:
This type of crisis comes from intentionally misleading customers. This might be a fabricated press release, falsely claiming to be an industry leader, or making claims that your product can cure any illness.
Social media is a prime source of viral content. People share newsworthy articles, videos, and other types of content to their friends, family members, and followers on social media. If a piece of content goes viral, it could potentially be seen by millions of people.
Fake news stories are a common occurrence on social media. They occur when someone publishes false information with the intention of misleading others. This is often done to generate traffic to a website or to cause harm to a person, product, or brand.
Fraudulent marketing practices are another type of social media crisis that can occur when you are dealing with a third party.
This could be a marketing company you hire, a PR firm you partner with, or a vendor you work with. It could be someone who helps you distribute your content, like an influencer. It could be anyone you are working with on a day-to-day basis.
It’s important to make sure that anyone you’re working with is reputable and trustworthy.
Loss of Customer Data or Privacy Breaches:
This type of crisis comes from losing customer information or accidentally posting information that violates customer privacy.
These are the two most serious types of social media crises. If you lose customer data, it can impact millions of people.
Privacy breaches can happen if your company suffers a breach and hackers get ahold of customer data, like credit card numbers and addresses.
Other scenarios are if you lose access to customer data, such as if you are transitioning from one payment system to another. If you have a privacy breach, it could affect a smaller group of people.
It could also happen if you accidentally post someone’s personal information, like their address or phone number, on social media. It could also arise if you intentionally post someone’s personal information, like their social security number or other types of sensitive information.
Unethical Behavior by Employees or Leadership:
This type of social media crisis occurs when your brand or leadership engages in unethical behavior, such as discrimination or sexual harassment.
This could be anything from an executive being condescending towards a customer to an employee shaming another person online. It also includes an employee sharing false or misleading information about your company, product, or service.
Unethical behavior can also happen when your brand engages in activities that violate social or ethical norms, such as publishing false or misleading information about a competitor.
These crises can be prevented by hiring employees who are committed to ethical business practices. Make sure your employees know what is considered unethical behavior and that they know they will be fired if they break the rules.
How To Handle the Worst Case Scenario
The average company will deal with a social media crisis once every two years, with serious issues popping up at least once a year.
However, because the damage that can be done by these crises is so extensive, it is important to be prepared. When a crisis breaks out, it’s likely that your team will be inundated with messages from disgruntled customers, upset employees, and other stakeholders.
They may also receive legal letters from attorneys representing other parties involved in the issue. It will be up to you, your executives, and your PR team to decide how to respond to these messages.
Although it might be tempting to fire back at your attackers, this is rarely a good idea. Instead, take a deep breath, collect your thoughts, and respond to the situation in a calm, collected manner.
Social media crises are inevitable, but they don’t have to be devastating. With a solid social media crisis response plan in place, you’ll be able to minimize the impact of these crises and regain the trust of your customers.
When faced with a social media crisis, you should respond immediately, apologize for the mistake, clarify your position, and provide an action plan moving forward. With the right tools and strategies in place, you’ll be able to manage any situation and keep your reputation intact.
Conclusion As you can see, social media crises can come from a variety of different sources. These are just some of the most common ones you’ll need to be prepared for.
No matter what type of crisis you experience, you must be ready to respond as quickly as possible to minimize the damage. Having a social media crisis response plan in place can help you do this.
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