Social media "crisis" management: When a tweet is worth 1,000 words

Social media "crisis" management: When a tweet is worth 1,000 words

By Dodge Communications on October 10th, 2013

In the healthcare B2B space, it’s rare that we practice genuine crisis management on behalf of our clients – thankfully. But truth be told, those of us who are immersed in HIT are not immune from viral negativity either. The fact that we deal with great healthcare IT companies, who deal with great healthcare facilities, does not necessarily mean that frustrated consumers—patients—can’t or won’t “go rogue” and declare an all-out social media war that drags our clients’ brands down.  We’ve seen this happen first-hand on more than one occasion.

It’s a generally accepted truism that it’s never the 99.99% of the times when a company meets expectations and pleases its customers that said customers want to publicly shout the company’s name from the rooftops. It’s the .01% of the time when something goes terribly wrong or the customer was inconvenienced that they share their disappointment with the world. And in today’s environment of instantaneous public communication channels at everyone’s fingertips, bad news travels fast.

Which is why any good brand manager should know what to do should a social media crisis ever arise. Here are a few simple guidelines to prepare:

  • Put together a plan. Know which departments and/or individuals should be involved, and at what point they need to be notified.
  • Listen to the conversation. Your brand should be actively listening and monitoring the conversations online regularly.
  • Know what a crisis actually is. It’s very important to understand what a crisis actually is, how it originated, how the customer has been affected, etc. This is key in shaping your response tactics.
  • Speed matters. In today’s fast-paced digital communication world, acknowledging the issue publicly as quickly as possible is important.
  • Always be positive. It’s never a good idea to become defensive or argumentative with a customer – especially over social media for the world to see.
  • Take responsibility. If you did something wrong, own up to it. Transparency goes a long way with customers.