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Crisis communication
on social media networks
Social media networks have started a revolution of its own kind in terms of company-customer relations and have contributed to the emergence of increasingly frequent crisis situations. The ability to overcome this kind of challenge has become a mandatory trait of every social media manager at a time when crises are common and unpredictable.

During the period of traditional media rule of the marketing world, two-way communication occurred inconspicuously, and only the persistent and relentless individuals managed to get in touch with important people and get a chance to share their experience. In traditional media, apart from the purpose of advertising, brands appeared only in case of potential breaking news, and customer satisfaction or dissatisfaction was expressed only by word of mouth.

What has changed since social media networks entered the scene?

A key change that transformed brand – buyer (customer) relationship is definitely the appearance of interpersonal communication. Due to the increasing impact of social media, it has never been easier to ask a question or comment on the upside and downside of business. A valuable feedback is a great challenge for social media managers. Since every person is different, their observations are different, too, and need to be dealt with as such. Generic responses can sometimes be efficient, but what if you are dealing with a skilled communicator who expressed a valid point of view and might cause a crisis that will affect your customer relations and your business in general?

First and foremost, you need to react as soon as possible. Waiting on a response might only fan the flames. So, what are you supposed to do? Get in touch with your client! When you realize a crisis is emerging, it is necessary to contact and consult your client. Not only will mutual communication in most cases solve any problems between you and your client but it will also prevent you from keeping your client in ignorance.

You have provided your client with a perfect answer, but it didn’t calm the waters – what next?

Unfortunately, this happens more often than not. Let’s say you did everything you could to make your reply to sound warm, professional, sympathetic and to show you are willing to meet the challenge. You sighed with relief and continued with your work, when suddenly you receive a new notification. That’s when your palms start sweating and the Internet connection becomes slower than ever. You really hope for a positive reply, but you realize that your client is not giving in and has new arguments. Since written communication is not showing results, and another reply might start a discussion (which is definitely not what you need), it’s time to try a change of tactics.

We aren’t supposed to ignore our clients, are we?

Although ignoring is acceptable in certain situations, it is necessary to take further action in this case. In this kind of situation, we tend to forget that there are actual people behind the screen writing the characters. Communication in this phase proceeds to the offline world and it is time for your client to enter the scene. How, you wonder? You simply ask your client for a contact number or provide one for your client to contact you. It might seem to you that you are bothering your client, but do not forget that your company’s image is at stake here. Since you have informed your client about the new situation in time for them to check the details themselves, both sides will benefit from a direct conversation.

Finally, do not forget that working as a social media manager does not have official hours, which is why you should not be surprised by this type of events. A crisis management handbook is a good starting point, but getting to know your audience and keeping track of what is happening inside the community will make it easier for you to meet any challenge that comes your way.
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