I have three pieces of advice that are critical to any social media crisis management plan and will help you get through any crisis – social media or otherwise.
OK, here goes…
1) Do not panic
2) Stop Panicking
3) See step 1 and/or step 2
When you go into panic mode, bad decisions are made. A bad decision regarding a crisis on social media is unforgiving. And that is the last thing you need when the responsibility of your hotel’s reputation is on your shoulders.
Do not panic. Take a deep breath.
This is where your leadership skills come into play:
- Gather your marketing team, even those outside of social media, and members of whatever department is the focus of the crisis.
- Discuss the situation – Is it a crisis or just an outburst?
- Select one lead person to manage the situation
- Create a plan and strategy for handling the situation
Simple, right? The issue is in the 4th bullet point. How do you create a plan and strategy for a crisis or an outburst on social media? The important part of addressing this question is that the plan needs to be in place BEFORE a social media crisis or outburst arises. The plan will feel like a security blanket and not panicking will be easier than you think.
Think of it like house insurance. You have it, hopefully never need it. Should there be a fire in your home, you are covered. Having a social media crisis plan in place is like insurance for your reputation.
Yes, social media content is fast paced, immediate and ‘fun’. The truth is that social media for businesses is a bit more serious.
Social media planning for businesses involves many areas, including:
- Marketing Strategy
- Advertising Spend
- Content Calendars
- Business Need Focus
- Target Audience
- Crisis Management
This is usually the time when upper management realizes that hiring an inexperienced intern wasn’t the best idea. I always joke with my team that posting a picture of a cute kitten is easy, but the cute kitten isn’t going to help you in a crisis.
Every crisis or outburst on social media is different and should be dealt with accordingly. If I could offer one piece of advice when creating your crisis management plan, it would be to accept you cannot control the situation but you can certainly influence it.
Influence allows you to change the perception, guide it to where you need it to go, manage the outcries and be human about the issue to your audience.
Do you have a social media crisis management plan in place for your hotel?