What is the best away to avoid a social media crisis? Listen to Neal Schaffer's advice and, instead of dwelling on the negative, focus on the positive by generating goodwill and brand advocates through growing a social media following.
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take, take, take, take enjoyment. Welcome to social business Unplugged, Helping you understand in plain English how to best leverage social media for your business. And now here's the founder of Windmill networking, Neil Shaper. Hello, everybody. This is Neil Schafer from women that working Welcome to another episode of social business unplugged today. I want to talk about the topic of social media and crisis communications or crisis management. Now a big disclaimer. I am in no ways a public relations or corporate communications specialist experts or don't even have that much experience in the art. So why am I qualified to talk on the subject? Well, im not, but I wanted to offer some advice because the topic, whenever I talk to a crowd, in addition to marketing, has corporate communication PR professionals in the audience. When I talk about social media, the question always comes up right. I think that social media crises are the reason that a lot of companies actually started engaging in social media in the first place. There were a number of famous crisis united breaks guitars, thinking back to the Motrin Mom's We've had a number of these crisis. I think the Applebee's firing of a waitress recently is another example, and I just wanted to share my perspective on this with you, because I have worked with clients and creating the social media strategy. What do you do if you face a crisis? And I think that there's a few things to consider when talking about social media crises, and it's interesting if you go back and do some research on the past crises that have happened in social media. Were they really crises? In other words, that it really affect that brand going back and looking at Motrin Mom's? There's talk now that maybe Motrin should have waited a little bit longer instead of addressing the voices in essence of not that many people. In other words, was it a real crisis or not? Did it affect the majority of its customers? Applebee's? Should they have even posted on Facebook? Is that the most appropriate forum for them to deal with customer complaints or issues? And, of course, the Applebee's issue. It goes much further than just posted on Facebook. It's what happened after they started posting, but needless to say, there's issues that come up on the other hand, we've seen companies like Southwest Airlines when they kicked off a famous movie director for him filling up too much of his seat. They responded very, very quickly, and I think for every crisis that becomes public there are a number of crises that have been defused because companies have handled them in a very, very efficient, swift way. The point I wanted to make about all this is when I was contacted by one of my clients who was really looking for someone that could help them on crisis management. You know, I told them that the best way to prevent crises, which you're never gonna be able to prevent every single crisis that happens because you cannot control the uncontrollable. You cannot predict the future. But it's about pro actively engaging and building up a social media following. It's building up trust with the public through social media engagement on those channels where the public is. But most importantly, we're your audiences, where your customers, your partners, your vendors and your employees are, and proactively building goodwill, fostering goodwill because if you have that good will, and if you foster the creation of brand advocates, what's gonna happen is if there's a crisis, there's gonna be a lot of people that are going to stand up for you, and it will help. I don't know about completely defused this quote unquote crisis, but it will definitely help a lot of people on social media come to your side without you even having to say anything. And once again, if you do some research, you'll be able to find that there was a crisis about Boingo that Boingo, which provides WiFi or wireless Internet service, is all of a sudden. One day their community manager noticed that they got some mentions on Twitter saying, Stop spamming. Me and the community manager realize that that was out of the ordinary, and immediately what did she do immediately, she contacted their director of corporate communications. So if you're actively engaging and actively monitoring and you're on the front line and you see something weird going on, it's a potential emergency situation. You have to be in contact with an emergency team, and another way that you deal with crisis from a tactical perspective is you have an emergency team in place. When something goes wrong, you could be in contact with in a few minutes, if not within an hour, finding the issue of being in direct contact with senior management because, as we all know, social media, what you do in it is going to affect the way that the entire public sees your brand. So the interesting story about this is that they dealt with the issue very, very quickly. So quick response. We all know how important that is. A social media. The CEO came out and blogged under his name on their corporate blawg, letting people know about the situation. So this transparency about letting people know, even if you don't know what the issue is that you're looking into the issue and you realize there is an issue will often help defuse things. The interesting thing is, once they realized what the issue waas it was, I think six or seven hours when they got that first out mention of stops family me and they realized there was an issue with their systems. What ended up happening was on this final block post by the CEO, and I think he blocked two or three times within those seven hours, CEO said. Please feel free to comment and I think they got, you know, 70 something comments, and most of them were from their fans or their brand advocates or their social media followers. You know who thank them for letting them know and what have you. So I'm a believer that there's always gonna be negative people out there. But I also believe that people just want to know that their issues air being heard. And that's why consumers feel empowered with the advent of social media listening and responding. But more importantly, preventing a potential crisis by really building that good well, with your social media fan base is going to be the best weapon that you have. Should something go wrong, then you get into Do you have a test team set up? Are you monitoring actively? Can you respond quickly? And Ken, your CEO actually personally respond, I think is really the ultimate, whether it's done via block via video, what have you So these are just some thoughts? I know a lot of you listening out there are from different disciplines, and obviously, social business unplugged is not just about marketing and South social media affects the entire business, and it's one reason why another topic. Another tangent on this topic are people saying, Well, because of social media, we don't need PR anymore. We just in marketing. But in fact, every department in your company is even more important with the advent of social media. And every department in your company has to have a seat at the table because their issues like these, which will undoubtedly happen that rely on a group within your company that is in charge of your corporate reputation. That is not the mission of marketing. Marketing is in charge of, at the end of the day, increasing sales brand awareness. What have you? That is why there is a need for a dedicated person. Or if not this task force that has executives that can help your company. Should you have a crisis. That's it for today. We're keeping it eight minutes. Thank you very much for listening. Appreciate your ratings on iTunes and comments and make it a great day. Bye bye, everybody. You've been listening to social business. Unplug with meal shaper, social media author, consultant, speaker and university professor. If you'd like any specific topics covered on future episodes, or if you'd like to be interviewed for this podcast, please connect with meal by email. Kneel at windmill networking dot com on Lincoln at Lincoln dot com slash in slash meal Schaefer and on Twitter at Neil Shaper, please also visit windmill networking dot com for daily social media for business updates. Thanks for listening and make it a great day.