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Social media crisis management toolkit

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Social media crisis management toolkit

  1. 1. Social Media Crisis Management ToolKit
  2. 2. SOCIAL MEDIA CRISIS COMMUNICATIONS PLANThe purpose of this toolkit is to ensure the social and customer service teams are equipped to deal with acrisis situation that may arise within the Social Media environment; whether it’s a small-scale incident or alarger, widespread Public Relations incident.When a Crisis Strikes1. Review ContextEnsure that you gather all of the facts and fully understand the issue at hand. Assess the situation todetermine facts and the potential threat/impact on your brand International brand.1.Identify Crisis TypeAny situation that threatens the integrity or reputation of your brand should be considered a crisissituation. Type 3: Minor/isolated incident on single Social Media asset (e.g. Fan posts a complaint to the Facebook page about dissatisfaction with change in service or program) Type 2: Incident that gains momentum or spreads across multiple Social Media platforms. Any incident that could be considered threatening/viral in nature (e.g. uploaded content or media of mishandled paperwork, rude email, etc…) Type 1: Incident immediately goes viral/gains widespread media attention. Could have long-term impact on brand equity (e.g. hacking of confidential information, mishandled personal information, criminal activity by employee, etc…)2.Determine Communication TeamIdentify the internal teams and key contacts involved in the incident. This is imperative to ensure aseamless process of approving and distributing Social Media communications.3.Respond in Real-TimeIn the event of a crisis, it is vital that your brand responds in a timely and cohesive manner. Silence isnever acceptable, especially within the fast pace of Social Media as it can fuel negativity/misinformation.Staying silent may allow disgruntled fans to take over the fan page as well as amass negativemomentum. If you cannot provide an immediate answer, acknowledge the consumer’s inquiry and makenote to follow-up as more information becomes available.4.Address & Resolve the ProblemIf the crisis brings a legitimate issue, recognize the problem; thank them for bringing it to your attentionand follow up with the correct steps to fix it. If there is no actual problem but someone perceives it as one,it’s important to sincerely address their concerns.Following a CrisisContinue to monitor the conversation for at least 72 hours following a Crisis Situation to ensure that anyremaining conversations are moderated and addressed. 2|Page
  4. 4. OVERVIEW: CRISIS MANAGEMENT TOOLKITThis Crisis Management Toolkit is intended to serve as a communications guide forconversations taking place in Social Media platforms, as well as a resource for how torespond to potential crisis situations as they occur. It is vital to ensure that your brand isvisible and actively participating in the Social Media space before a crisis occurs; thiswill ensure that the information shared by your brand during times of crisis is credibleand valued.This toolkit will help you quickly identify, categorize and address potential and actualcrisis situations that may arise in the Social Media landscape. It is important to followthe proper communication measures as outlined in this document to diffuse and ideallyresolve the situation.The Best Practices and examples provide high-level guidance in the event of a crisisand the measures to address in Social Media, however, the overall crisis managementplan must also take into account additional organizational/circumstantial considerations.Note: These recommendations should serve as guidance; your team’s response toindividual situations should adapt to take into consideration the individual circumstancesof each situation as it occurs.ObjectivesPrepare Social Media Team Leads to: •Listen/Monitor. Monitor and identify potential crisis situations within Social Mediabefore they escalate. •Evaluate. Identify scale and the appropriate environments to address crisis. •Be Prepared to Respond Promptly. Immediately contact the CorporateCommunications team - a crisis can gain momentum quickly in Social Mediaenvironments so it’s critical (at minimum) to acknowledge these consumers publicly anddeliver a consistent, corporate approved response. •Communicate. Establish a flawless communication chain with your local teamand the Corporate Communications team to ensure transparency and cohesion ofmessaging across global outlets (if necessary). 4|Page
  5. 5. UNDERSTANDING THE MEDIA TYPETraditional Media (e.g. TV, Print, etc.)Public Relations traditionally revolved around managing and controlling the flow ofinformation between organizations and the public in the form of official press releasesand public statements. In the realm of Social Media, news travels at real-time speedand any delay in response is perceived as being too slow and inadequate.Social Media (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc.)Social Media platforms enable information to be instantly shared and make it readilyaccessible. In a crisis situation, this often leaves the “Public” in control of the initialmessaging while traditional media communications try to catch up with approvedstatements.Benefits of Social Media •Quick implementation with direct access to the public (no media filter) •Effective tool for informing people during a crisis •Allows brand to influence the message 5|Page
  6. 6. SOCIAL MEDIA GUIDELINES & BEST PRACTICESEstablish Communication Strategy 1. Establish Response Channels: Ensure that you maintain a well-established Social Media presence; this will enable you to reach consumers via Social Media during times of crisis. Ensure seamless communications between local Social Media teams, Corporate Communications and local Brand teams on a day-to-day basis and develop a strategy for crisis communications in advance. (See Case Study: Domino Pizza) 2. Monitoring: It is important to monitor ALL Social Media environments (even those in which your company does not have an established presence) so that you can address issues that arise about your company and the crisis situation. It is critical that any potentially threatening mentions be immediately passed along to the local Brand/PR team for close monitoring. (See Case Study: Boingo) 3. Visibility: Make sure your fans know where to find you. Place links to your Social Media profiles on your online and offline assets. 4. Timing: In the event of a crisis, work with Corporate Communications to immediately prepare your communication strategy; it is vital that you are able to reach your fans and followers in a timely and cohesive manner. 5. Messaging: Develop a messaging plan and determine the appropriate Social Media environments for distribution. In most instances, you will only use this messaging reactively, in response to consumers who bring up the issue on a branded asset. 6. Be Authentic in your Response: DON’T Talk AT your fans and followers; engage in a two-way dialogue where you answer specific questions and ask for feedback. Humanize your brand by allowing consumers to see emotion and always respond with professionalism and transparency. (For example: Take advantage of YouTube and release a statement from an executive sharing their thoughts and knowledge on the situation.) Responses should be positive, proactive and action-oriented. Silence is never acceptable, even if you cannot provide an immediate answer, acknowledge the consumer’s inquiry, reply with a placeholder response to acknowledge the crisis and make note to follow-up once more information is available. Ex: We are currently looking into the situation and as soon as we have more details, we’ll be sure to let you know. Thanks. 6|Page
  7. 7. SOCIAL MEDIA CRISIS COMMUNICATION PROCESSAssess Scale of IncidentWhile it is impossible to predict all of the potential crisis situations that may originatewithin or outside of the Social Media environments, it is important to always monitormentions of your brand and listen to communications across all branded assets. SocialMedia is living and breathing 24/7 and has the ability to escalate one statement into aviral phenomenon overnight. People are talking about your brand regularly and openly,and so it’s the role of brand teams to listen, moderate and respond (when appropriate)to these conversations.1.Identify Crisis TypeAny situation that threatens the integrity or reputation of your brand should beconsidered a crisis situation.Immediate Escalation:Any situation that requires immediate or prompt escalation must be treated as aType 1 Crisis.Evaluate Cause of CrisisA crisis can arise from within Social Media (e.g. YouTube video that goes viral) or acrisis within the industry or branded event can spark outrage in Social Media. A crisiscan arise from a variety of causes including but not limited to legal disputes, human /clerical error, unauthorized procedures, inadequate quality control, misuse ofconfidential information, bad press from partnering brand or talent, etc. and is usuallyfueled by negative media (social and traditional) attention. Typically, negative pressturns into a crisis situation when the media and general public react in a disapprovingand accusing manner. 7|Page
  8. 8. LOGISTICAL SERIOUSCRISIS TYPE 3 TYPE 2 TYPE 1 An incident that gains Incident immediately momentum or goes viral and gaining Minor or isolated spreads across widespread media incident on a single multiple Social Media attention. Could have Social Media asset: assets. Any incident long-term impact onSituation (e.g. Fan posts a that is threatening / brand equity. (e.g. User complaint to the viral in nature. (e.g. generated content Facebook page about Video footage of depicting brand in a service) stateroom flooding negative light that goes onboard) viral) Immediately contact Social Media Agency Social Media agency Corporate immediately contacts has authority to Communications with Local Brand TeamAction immediately address proposed response / and Corporate incident to appease acknowledgement. Communications to situation. Notify Legal Team devise a response. immediately. Continuously monitor Communicate to Closely monitor situation across all Global Brand Team, situation and Social MediaNext Steps Corporate communicate with environments. Communications and Local Brand Team. Communicate to Legal. Executive.2.Determine Communication TeamWHO: Individuals key to the situation.Should a crisis arise in the Social Media space, the following people will be the keycontacts for approving and distributing Social Media communications. 8|Page
  9. 9. Develop Plan of ActionReview contextEnsure that you gather all of the facts and fully understand the issue at hand andassess the situation to determine facts and the potential threat/impact to your brand.Respond Quickly & Remain TransparentBe ready to respond immediately and aim to respond to a crisis situation within 24hours. Often times, in a crisis situation, critical time is wasted running responsesthrough different committees or approval processes. This time-lapse is amplified withinthe real-time framework of Social Media channels which further fuels the crisis situation.It’s important to respond in real-time with a positive and rational tone, even if only toacknowledge the issue. Acknowledgement helps to diffuse hostile or emotionallycharged situations, ignoring issues or waiting too long to respond can quickly tarnishyour brand’s reputation. Whether your company is at fault or being wrongly accused, itis vital to respond quickly, be honest and tell the whole story in your communications tothe public. (See Case Study: Nestle) 9|Page
  10. 10. FOLLOWING A CRISIS SITUATION Keep Communications Open ·Internal Communications: Determine the appropriate positioning, message andoutlet(s) for your communications. Develop and distribute FAQs to be utilizedthroughout the company to ensure intelligence throughout the company and consistentcommunications across all media outlets. ·Consumer Communications: Establish and maintain a presence with yourconsumers by engaging in two-way communications. This relationship will greatlybenefit you in times of crisis and consumers will be more apt to listen to yourmessaging. (See Case Study: Icelandic Volcanic Ash – Airline Industry)Be RealIn Social Media, consumers want a human response. Don’t hide emotions, by doing soyou will risk losing credibility. Open up and share updates and information regarding theissue – this will reassure consumers that actions are being taken. Make sure to addressissues and emotions and give credence to perceptions whether they are correct or not.(See Case Study: Boingo)Address and Resolve the ProblemIf the crisis brings a legitimate issue to your attention, recognize the problem; thankthem for bringing it to your attention and follow up with the correct steps to fix it. If thereis no actual problem but someone perceives it as one, it’s important to sincerelyaddress their concerns.(See Case Study: Codero) 10 | P a g e
  11. 11. Potential Causes of Crisis SituationsNEGATIVE PRESSNegative press can stem from a variety of instances related to: ·Brand/Employee ·Current Events ·Events/Promotions ·Partnering Brand/ Sponsored Artist ·Product/ServiceNegative press, regardless of its origins, will be voiced throughout Social Mediachannels. With the proper listening tools in place, your brand will be able to identify anybad press before it becomes widespread. Any potentially threatening media attentionsshould be taken seriously and closely monitored as any one mention can spread virallyin Social Media.Consumers may defend or attack your brand and therefore, it’s vital that your brand isprepared to deal with this sudden shift in consumer sentiment. It is important to quicklyidentify and understand the issue at hand and be prepared to address the negativity anddetermine the appropriate Social Media channels to communicate through.Brand/EmployeeIn the event that a current or past employee’s actions create negative press, it isimportant to work with Corporate Communications to have a prepared response ready.Make sure to reassure all fans that the event was isolated and is never tolerated by yourbrand. By responding honestly and in real-time, you will have the ability to re-establishtrust among fans that may be enraged by the incident. 11 | P a g e
  12. 12. Example Insert sample and screenshotNote: (See Case Study: Domino Pizza and Case Study: Red Cross)Current EventsOccasionally, a current event may arise that affects your industry, a specific market or asponsored event. Natural disasters and other events beyond the control of your brandthat negatively impact business should be addressed and acknowledged in SocialMedia as conversations arise.In the case that a live event must be postponed or cancelled, communications shouldimmediately be vetted through all relevant Social Media channels to let fans know thesituation. In most cases, fans will express disappointment, but typically will not blamethe brand. It is important to respond immediately to those who are expressingdisappointment, anger or confusion to ensure that they have received the correctinformation. 12 | P a g e
  13. 13. Examples Insert sample and screenshotNote: (See Case Study: Icelandic Volcanic Ash – Airline Industry)Events/PromotionsFor all events, the local Social Media Team should be briefed on the event (have allevent FAQs on hand) and be prepared to address any incidents in the Social Mediaenvironment should they arise. With Smartphone capabilities at events, it’s possible thatincidents may make it online, even before the onsite team hears of the incident.If possible, a member of the local Social Media Team should be on-site as a member ofthe Event Team to both ensure seamless communications between the event staff andthe Social Media Team as well as provide real-time updates to the relevant SocialMedia assets.Before, during and after the event, the Social Media Team should closely monitor allconversations pertaining to the event to alert the onsite Event Team of potential threatsor other issues. 13 | P a g e
  14. 14. Example Insert sample and screenshotPartnering Brand/ SponsorsIn the event that a partnering brand or sponsor speaks about your brand in a negativeor defamatory manner, the issue should be immediately addressed. It should be madeclear that your brand does not condone such behavior and an apology should be madeto those who may have been offended.Product/ServiceAny mechanical defects, customer service, quality or availability complaints that havegained negative press should be addressed immediately. Whether the fault is on thebrand or not, Social Media communications should remain transparent, honest andconversational to keep fans informed of the next steps towards a solution. 14 | P a g e
  15. 15. Examples Insert sample and screenshotTechnical Changes/InterruptionsAny planned technical changes to the assets (website, online booking, Facebook page,etc.) should be carefully planned in advance and communicated to consumers via theappropriate Social Media channels to notify them of the changes.Any unexpected interruption should be addressed in a timely manner to explain thecause of such disruption. Always remain transparent and apologize for theinconvenience.Note: (See Case Study: Codero)Additional examples specific to your brand include but are not limited to: • Insert specific brand examplesThese are just a few of the occurrences that could lead to a “Crisis” situation in SocialMedia for your brand. Please be aware that you may also need to respond in the eventthat a similar situation affects a competitor or your industry as a whole. 15 | P a g e
  16. 16. APPENDIX A: CASE STUDIESBoingoAfter an email campaign test went awry, consumers were spammed with repeated testemails from the company over a weekend. Thanks to Boingo’s close brand monitoringand established social communication channels, the situation was immediatelyidentified and the issue able to be addressed and resolved with immediacy. The CEOissued a personal message across all Social Media channels including Twitter,Facebook and their corporate blog to reach out and apologize to their consumers for theincontinence.Lesson from Boingo:Admit your mishap immediately and communicate through relevant channels to addressthose expressing complaints in a personalized and genuine response. Consumers willrelate to a real voice and will generally be more accepting of the apology.Source: http://jontusmedia.com/case-study-social-media-crisis-management/CoderoCodero, a web-hosting company experienced a power outage which sparkedconversations of frustration on Twitter. Codero immediately addressed the negativity bynot only posting a YouTube video update but also directing their Facebook fans towatch their real-time updates on Twitter in addition to the video response.Lesson from Codero:Codero remained transparent by responding in real-time to issues associated with thepower outage and promised to disclose the full incident report to inform consumers of 16 | P a g e
  17. 17. exactly what caused the incident. By facilitating conversations and addressing harshcriticism, Codero received positive feedback for their commitment to customer service.Source: http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/how-to-use-social-media-for-crisis-management/Domino’s PizzaWithin two days of a video of two Domino Pizza employees preparing pizzas inunsanitary ways being posted to YouTube, the video became viral attracting over amillion views. Domino’s immediately dismissed the employees after being alerted butkept the public in the dark with no statement. After three days had passed, a Twitteraccount was created to address negative comments that were running rampant and theCEO posted a personal message via a YouTube video to address the situation andreveal actions being taken by the company to ensure the highest food preparations arebeing enforced in all of their locations.Lessons from Domino Pizza:Don’t underestimate the power and speed of Social Media and make sure to establishcommunication channels within Social Media before a crisis strikes.Source: http://www.imediaconnection.com/content/26379.asp 17 | P a g e
  18. 18. Red CrossAfter an employee of the Red Cross accidentally tweeted as @RedCross from herHootSuite account (a platform that allows people to manage multiple profiles)the Red Cross immediately took the following steps to resurrect the situation: 1.Deleted the tweet 2.Tweeted this statement to apologize:With the quick action and human (even a bit humorous) response turned this potentiallydetrimental situation around. In fact, Dogfish Head jumped on the opportunity to blogabout the incident and even encourage people to donate blood by spreading themessage on Twitter with the hashtag #GettngSlizzerd. Many bars even joined in theaction and offered free pints of Dogfish Head to people who donated blood. 18 | P a g e
  19. 19. Lessons from Red Cross: React quickly and issue a genuine apology. Red Cross dida great job of remaining transparent and flexible by even thanking Dogfish Head beerfor their support. This is a great example how a potential crisis situation can be turnedinto a positive outcome.Source: http://mashable.com/2011/02/16/red-cross-tweet/Ford Motor CompanyIgnoring the sensitivity of the situation, Ford’s legal team issued a cease-and-desistnotification to a fan website that was selling unlicensed Ford logo products. AlthoughFord had the legal right to take that action, they failed to foresee the potential backlashand word quickly spread about how Ford was bullying their own loyal fans throughTwitter and other channels. Thanks to the transparency and real-time tweet updatesfrom Ford’s Social Media team, the potentially disastrous situation was kept undercontrol. Within 24 hours the situation was calmed by untimely coming to an agreementwith the fan where he was allowed to keep his URL under the condition that he endedthe selling of counterfeit goods.Lesson from Ford:Before taking legal action against a brand advocate, you must first consider thepotential backlash of your loyal fans. Instead of approaching the situation as legality bysending a threatening letter, it’s best to consider the sensitivity of the situation approachin an amicable manner. This will ease the matter and reduce the risk of tarnishing therelationship with a brand advocate, or worse, spark a firestorm of criticism.Although Ford’s initial approach to the situation was poorly thought through, thanks toreal-time and transparent communications via Twitter, Scott Monty (the head of Ford’sSocial Media) was able to effectively remedy the situation and address misinformation...With a real-time communication channel already established and trust already earned,Monty was able to reach out to his established following to take control of the PRdisaster and resolve the crisis situation.Icelandic Volcanic Ash – Airline IndustryCurrent events can often impact an industry and cause frustration and chaos amongyour consumers. These are perfect opportunities to embrace your Social Mediachannels to join the conversations and communicate with your frustrated customers.During the recent Icelandic Volcanic Ash incident, some airlines actively participated inthe communications tweeting updates and info while other opted to stay silent. Airlinersincluding Scandinavian Airline Systems embraced their Social Media channels to keep 19 | P a g e
  20. 20. their customers informed, while American Airlines missed out on the opportunity to andavoided mentions of the event that their consumers were talking about.Lessons from the Airline Industry: Listen to what your consumers are talking about and join in the conversation. Even ifthe control is out of your hands, consumers will appreciate your participation. Bycommunicating about relevant and real events and issues, you will gain your consumerstrust and build your brand’s credibility.Source: http://jontusmedia.com/online-communications-in-a-crisis/NestleRecently, Greenpeace posted a video to YouTube that equated eating a Kit Kat bar withkilling an Orangutan. This video was based on the fact that Nestle buys palm oil, whichis threatening the Orangutan’s extinction due to deforestation.Nestles Actions:Nestle quickly had the video removed based on the fact that it violated their trademark.This decision to remove the video sparked outraged which moved Greenpeacefollowers to attack the Nestle fan page on Facebook.Nestle attempted to defend their page by removing all critical comments and any profilephotos that altered their logo. This strategy only further enraged Greenpeace membersand supporters and caused greater negativity towards the Nestle brand.On May 19th, under continued pressure Nestle announced their plans to use onlysustainable Palm Oil by 2015.MAR 19–NESTLE HI EVERYONE – WE DO CARE AND WILL CONTINUE TOPRESSURE OUR SUPPLIERS TO ELIMINATE ANY SOURCES OF PALM OIL WHICHARE RELATED TO RAINFOREST DESTRUCTION. WE HAVE REPLACED THEINDONESIAN COMPANY SINAR MAS AS A SUPPLIER OF PALM OIL FORFURTHER SHIPMENTS. READ MORE: HTTP://TINYURL.COM/NESTLEPALMOILAPR 13–NESTLE IN A LETTER TO GREENPEACE TODAY, OUR CHAIRMAN,PETER BRABECK-LETMATHE HAS CALLED FOR A MORATORIUM ON THEDESTRUCTION OF RAINFORESTS AND HIGHLIGHTS HOW THE TWOORGANISATIONS CAN MEET THIS COMMON GOAL. A FULL COPY OF THELETTER IS HERE [HTTP://BIT.LY/BJQN0T] BUT IN SUMMARY THE KEY POINTS WEMAKE ARE…AND THEN GREENPEACE ANNOUNCES:SWEET SUCCESS: NESTLE TAKES ACTION TO PROTECT PARADISEPosted by: rolf | 17 May 10 |Lessons From Nestle: 20 | P a g e
  21. 21. Always be transparent in your actions. In this case, the brand was not upfront with theirfans; in Social Media this equates to a lack of community and positions the brand ascensoring consumer’s commentary. By failing to acknowledge the outrage and concern,Greenpeace supporters were relentless in their attacks and were further enraged byNestle removing their content. Instead of talking behind closed doors to resolve theissue, Nestle could have maintained some positive sentiment on the page if they hadtold fans upfront that they were working on a solution to help protect the environment.It is important to not rely on traditional press releases; you must address the issue onthe medium in which it lives in a timely manner to satisfy disgruntled consumers.Source: http://www.1goodreason.com/blog/2010/05/19/nestles-social-media-meltdown-a-case-study/ 21 | P a g e