Corporate Crisis Management and Social Media

We’ve (almost) all experienced the sinking feeling that accompanies opening our social media profiles The Morning After The Night Before and having our antics brought back to us in full, high-definition glory – whether through your husband’s hilarious Instagram story of you climbing behind the bar at your local and serving yourself up a quadruple, or a screenshot-worthy Snapchat of you winding down low with your best friend’s fiancé. Nothing’s private in a social society, and this poses a unique conundrum for companies caught at crisis point.

Almost all mainstream organisations have cottoned on to the benefits of running branded social media profiles. They act as a voice for your organisation; creating brand awareness, improving customer loyalty, generating leads and translating into real-world growth and sales. But with brand conversations increasingly taking place online, social media’s sweet rewards come with an all-too-salty flipside.

When your company courts controversy, your social media channels are likely to be the first place the public goes to take you to task – and make no mistake, it will be public. Something as simple and seemingly inconsequential as a poorly filled pack of bacon holds the potential to go viral – so if you’re caught up in a meatier scandal, it can be hard to know how to react. One hasty Facebook apology later and your community manager’s resigned, your company iPhone’s lock screen is a blur of profane Twitter notifications and your ill-conceived apology is trending on SorryWatch. Where did you go wrong?

If you’ve fallen foul of a social media firestorm, it’s easy to feel it was inevitable. It’s common to blame the medium – after all, if social media didn’t exist, this wouldn’t be happening to you and your carefully constructed company image! But social media is where current sentiment is reflected and shared, not necessarily where it’s originated – and it represents an almost unprecedented opportunity when it comes to crisis management.

In this month’s CEO Today, eight&four’s joint Managing Director and co-founder, Amy McCulloch, shares what she’s learned about social media crisis management in her years of running a modern communications agency. Find out how to prioritise your response and turn a comms crisis into an opportunity by reading the full article, here.

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