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Managing a Social Media Firestorm

Managing a Social Media Firestorm

Proven more often than not, social media can be a high-reward, but sometimes high-risk, brand strategy. Not only is it important for you to protect your company image reflected within your social media posts, it’s critical to monitor comments made by your employees that can also impact your image.


There seems to be a new example every week of poorly implemented social media. Social media crisis cases are common in today’s world of quick news and quick responses, but three types have shown to have the greatest impact:

  1. Preventable crisis. Tweets or Facebook Posts with offensive or insensitive messages that are not edited, proofed, or viewed by an outside party before they are deployed will most likely backfire.
  2. Responsive crisis. It’s important you have a social media response/crisis plan for responding to complaints and crisis. One poor response to a customer online could end up as negative publicity on sites like Reddit or BuzzFeed.
  3. Employee crisis. If you don’t clearly define social media policies with your employees, they won’t know what’s acceptable and what is not. Be clear about what they are allowed to do and what could be grounds for dismissal.

How to Respond

Your response to a social media crisis is critical. It’s vital to remain clear, concise, and honest. If necessary, offer a sincere apology and how you will handle the situation moving forward.

How to Prevent

There’s no 100 percent guarantee to preventing a crisis, but there are simple steps you can take to cover as many bases as possible.

  1. Be smart. Avoid controversial topics in society. Most consumers don’t want to hear from brands when a tragedy, political event, or social controversy takes place. Brands are more likely to lose customers when they do comment on such things.
  2. Proofread. Be sure to proof all content going out on social channels by as many eyes as possible before deployment. The more input, the less likely you are to offend or get negative reaction.
  3. Stick to you. Stick to who you are. If you brand keeps a consistent voice, message, and stays real with the customers, they are more likely to comeback and recommend your brand!

Although social media has associated risks, don’t be afraid and avoid it completely. Social media can help increase your reach to more consumers and it’s a valuable part of your integrated marketing strategy, as long as you use the right channels for your audience.


Published on: July 6, 2015