Community Management in a Time of Crisis

Community Management In Crisis Featured

When a crisis hits, things move quickly, and with the internet that speed is increased exponentially. Without careful monitoring, a situation in your online community can spiral out of control, and in an age where the links of communication between brands and consumers are stronger than ever, avoidance is not an option. Today, we are bringing you some key points that will help you weather a crisis on social media to keep your brand’s reputation and relationship with your audience intact.

Take the time to create an internal business plan before creating social media content. 

The first step in addressing your community during a crisis is to define your messaging internally. Make sure that everyone within your company is informed and on the same page about your plan before you make ANY kind of public statement. Identify your goals for getting through the crisis early and create a code of conduct for any public-facing employees. If different people give different messages, it can make your company look disorganized and hurt public trust in your brand.

Keep in mind that this should be done quickly, but not so rushed that it creates mess. In the meantime, audit any scheduled social media posts to ensure that nothing tone deaf slips through the cracks. When you’re ready, present a united front and show that you and your team are ready to face the difficulties ahead.

Do Not Delete Negative Comments

Deleting a negative comment does not show that the comment is wrong, rather that your brand is unable or unwilling to handle criticism. And you can be sure that if you are caught, you will unleash a flood of new comments angry that you deleted the issue in the first place.

Instead, respond to these comments as much as you can in a calm, professional tone, and try to direct the commenter to someone who can help them or somewhere they can more formally submit an issue. Oftentimes just acknowledging someone, letting them know that they are being heard, can do wonders to diffuse a situation. General rules of thumb: keep it sincere, keep it short, and try to move the conversation off of social media.                         

*To be clear, this does not apply to comments that use offensive or violent language. Anything that is bad enough where you would block a person from your page can and should be deleted, not for you but for the rest of your audience. Keep your online community safe so that productive discourse can happen.

During a crisis, emotions run high, and while this can expose your brand to higher risks, it can also be an opportunity to build a stronger bond with your audience than you’ve ever had before. Rather than asking them to take action or hold a specific opinion about your brand during a difficult time, take the time to be with them and let your actions speak. Then when the crisis