Any business is susceptible to crisis. Crises can range from a misguided marketing campaign or branded social media post to a product recall or negative news story. To address these crises, savvy brands turn to social media platforms such as Twitter and Instagram to implement proactive crisis management strategies. Read on to learn about how brands use social media platforms to both recognize and effectively address crises.
What Is Crisis Management?
Crisis management refers to the process of implementing strategies that mitigate the negative effects of unexpected problems. While crisis management involves traditional methods such as press releases and public apologies, modern crisis management strategies also often involve a more personalized approach in which a company connects directly with consumers via social media.
Responding to Customer Questions and Complaints
According to a recent study conducted by Twitter, 64% of users on the platform would rather contact a company’s support handle than call a customer support phone line.
Twitter provides a platform that enables personal, immediate, and publicly viewable responses to complaints, and all these components are crucial to effective crisis management. On the other hand, the public visibility of tweets can be problematic if a complaint remains unaddressed for all to see.
A proactive approach to crisis management will contain the spread of potentially viral complaints on Twitter by recognizing consumer concerns and responding quickly and effectively. The goal is to demonstrate attention to detail and a commitment to meeting consumer needs.
How is this accomplished? A key component is the use of social monitoring techniques. Social monitoring involves continuously analyzing content and flagging posts that express negative sentiment towards a brand. This process often involves utilizing AI-based social listening tools that can analyze large amounts of data and apply sentiment analysis, which assesses the emotional tone of text and images. AI-based social monitoring technology facilitates proactive crisis management by identifying consumer complaints that might otherwise go unnoticed and alerting companies to complaints at early stages.
Implementing Crisis Management Strategies
While social monitoring can be an effective tool to recognize and proactively respond to problematic posts before they generate a crisis, it is not always possible to avoid a crisis. For example, social monitoring will not prevent a company from making its own public relations gaffes. And even if social monitoring can help identify posts about negative press coverage, it will not stop that coverage from reaching consumers.
Companies need to be able to recognize early stages of a potential crisis, but they also need to implement effective crisis management strategies for those that are already occurring. Social media platforms can also be an effective tool for the implementation of strategy.
Clearly, social media posts that address an issue and offer apologies will be helpful in spreading the brand’s message to a large audience. But there is an additional layer of benefit in using social media in this way, namely that doing so allows companies to monitor the response to their message in real time.
Brands can track standard social media metrics such as likes and shares, but social listening tools can provide a deeper level of analysis, with AI platforms able to use sentiment analysis to go beyond binaries of liked or not liked, or shared or not shared, and provide a rating of how much consumers care about an issue, and how much their opinions are affected by a crisis management response.
Using this deeper level of analysis, companies can adjust their crisis management strategies on the fly, leaning into avenues that have had a positive effect, and avoiding those that have had a weaker or even negative effect.
Listening and Responding
When analyzed with the appropriate social listening tools, platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook provide a valuable resource for recognizing potential crises, and for implementing effective crisis management strategies. Using these tools, brands can utilize social media both to better understand their customers and avoid crises, and to better communicate when crises arise.