Social Media Crisis Management

A social media crisis can actually be impossible to manage if there’s no one at your company experienced in this area. Information can spread today more quickly than ever, so a social media crisis can get out of hand before you even understand the problem. It’s important that you react quickly to such a situation, or better yet, are wholly prepared for such an event. If you need to manage a social media crisis, Tucker/Hall has the experience to help. Please feel free to contact Darren Richards at 813-228-0652 or via email at

Below are some high-level recommendations for navigating a social media crisis:

Identify When Something is an Actual Crisis

The purpose of social media is to engage your customers in a conversation.  Sometimes those conversations can get heated–and that’s okay. However, if it escalates beyond a reasonable discussion, you might be dealing with a crisis.  Some indicators may include:

  • Information on your social media has received responses contrary to your intent. If followers do not understand your intent on a certain promotion, or you receive an escalation of questions or accusations, it is likely that you are close to being in a social media crisis. The miscommunication should be addressed immediately.
  • You notice a significant drop-off or increase from social media growth and engagement that calls your communications into question. A crisis could look like a sharp increase in any social media metric, be it followers or retweets related to your organization. While there is potential that this change from the norm could be positive, it requires attention in case the increase is caused by negative media or “hate shares.”
  • You see material business impacts, including loss of revenue in the wake of a particular social media campaign.

Have a Communication Tree

When a social media crisis occurs, it happens so quickly that it will be easy to lose control if any executive or key person is unaware of the situation. It is important to have a plan ahead of time as to how information is going to be spread within your network. A lack of knowledge about the situation will never ease a crisis by itself, but it opens doors for additional miscommunication and misunderstanding.

Put Out the Fire

During your response to a social media crisis, you will work to determine the source of the problem. If you can cut off a problem at the source, you will lower the risk of escalation; be apologetic.

When addressing anyone who is affected by the crisis situation, no matter how big or small the audience, consider an apology. People will generally be more likely to forgive and forget if remorse is shown.

Create a Channel Where People Can Vent Their Frustrations

People often simply want to feel like their concern is seen or heard, and will use any means to achieve this. By creating a channel for people to vent that falls under your control, you are able to learn about important information that can help you improve your organization.