Small Business Social Crisis Management Tips
You Can’t Please Everyone: 4 Social Crisis Management Tips
When in the world of social media marketing it seems that there is always someone offended, put off, or insulted by a seemingly innocent attempt at targeted communication. Although we try, it is next to impossible to please everyone all the time. There will also be customer service issues to deal with– today this happens more and more online.
For a small business or brand, crisis management can also include dealing with unhappy or uninformed customers online. A small brand may not deal with large scale disasters just because they don’t have the reach or exposure a larger brand has. But a few angry people online can be as damaging to a small fragile reputation.
In life, and in business, reputation is everything. That said, reputation is very fragile and it only takes one mistake to cause irreparable damage to your company’s image. This is especially true in the digital world where radical transparency and high customer expectations reign supreme. Ignoring strong public digital voices isn’t an option any more. Companies have to learn to not only communicate effectively in the social media age, but to truly listen to the two-way communication and respond in the way that aligns with both brand and customer expectations.
Business are afraid to say anything aside from a professional pre-recored canned statement to customers for fear of possibly offending someone somewhere. They limit themselves toward ads dry of any differentiation and responses void of any emotion. This paralysis of personality isn’t helping the customer or the brand.
It is important for a small business owner to have a social media crisis management plan – or even better, a crisis prevention plan – in place for those times when things may (will) go wrong.
1- Listen and be present.
It is important to listen to what is being said about your company. Social listening tools can help you find potential issues before they blow up within the social stratosphere. Most brand disasters and even angry customers can be found and problems solved just by simply picking up on the early mentions and being prepared to address it before it escalates.
2- Do Not Lose Your Cool – Ever!
There may be times when you disagree with your customers. But being rude or attacking them on social platforms is never acceptable. Provide the best information you can and do your best to satisfy every inquiry. If nothing helps and the customer insists on being rude and un-cooperative, just ignore them and move on; in those rare times, no matter what you do, nothing will probably be good enough. Your other customer can see you tried and will respect you for that.
3- Respond Thoughtfully
It’s worth putting some effort into writing a thoughtful reply aimed at addressing your customers’ concerns. Showing that you care about their experience and are willing to address problems (or even go above and beyond) is a great way of actually winning around critics and turning them into fans.
The following is a great example of a paid ad featuring some great creative by way of Facebook video. Power Plus caught my eye because of its video usage. Intrigued by the amazing transformation of the tile floor, and looking for this service myself, I went straight to the comments. What are people saying? Is it worth the money?
Don’t be afraid to let your human side show. You may find that you gain more quality customers and weed out the ones you didn’t want by using the social online advertising space to your advantage. The Power Plus response to Samuel Gibson was spot on. The use of humor and quick witted intelligence not only made me respect them more, they didn’t even offend the na-sayer in the next comment.
4- Be Transparent
Companies have been guilty of removing posts they didn’t agree with, or ignoring those posts.Trying to cover up or remove justified but negative comments can make it look as if you are ignoring a problem or, worse off, don’t care about the customers. It is critical to be honest and upfront about any issues you or your company may be facing.
If you made a mistake, admit it, apologize, and do everything in your power to make it right. We are all human and humans make mistakes. Your customers don’t expect you or your team to be perfect, just transparent and honest. Most of all, don’t underestimate their intelligence. They can see the crazy behind a random comment or rant and if you have tried to address the issue as professionally as possible, that will speak louder about your professionalism, your brand, and your service.
Tell us How, in the comments below, you successfully navigated a social crisis online?
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