3 Ways to Detect and Manage Social Media Crises

Here's how to spot and manage a social media crisis -- before it gets out of hand.

social media crises
social media crises
Don’t be this guy

Leah Pope is the VP of global marketing for Synthesio, an award-winning, social intelligence company helping the world’s leading brands listen to, understand and engage with consumers. By delivering social media data within 200 countries and 50-plus languages, brands receive crucial insights into their market’s opinions, wants and needs.

The question of how to spot and manage social media crises as they unfold online often comes up when companies first start listening to social media. The first step is to realize that monitoring 100 percent of the Web is not only impossible, but also costly and unnecessary.

Here are three quick tips for online crisis monitoring:

1. Data Spikes
An unusual amount of information on one topic is one possible tip-off to a coming crisis. This is why organizing data can be so important. If comments coming in are grouped into one topic or another, you can quickly and easily see that one topic (such as price, environmental impact or product name) is receiving far more comments than usual.

One technique for identifying potential crises is to define an average volume threshold for your brand, which, if surpassed by a data spike, will trigger an alert to your team.

DKNY found themselves in an online situation that could have escalated and created a potential crisis for the brand. However, it didn’t — the company was accused of using stolen photos in an exhibit, and the photographer called them out on a Facebook fan page — DKNY provided a prompt and honest response before the issue escalated.

2. Large Conversations with Many Comments
A growing conversation that is visible via an increasing number of comments may also signal a coming crisis. A good rule of thumb to begin with is that any online conversation pertaining to your brand that sparks more than five comments should be given close attention by your team.

When a disgruntled British Airways passenger paid $1,000 to promote a tweet to the airline’s 300,000 followers, the audience empathized with him. The critical tweet was amplified to the tune of 76,000 replies. The airline apologized, and the customer acknowledged that he was satisfied with the resolution.

3. Real-Time Alerts on Sensitive Topics
Setting up alerts based on sensitive keywords is also a must for any company hoping to detect and manage crises. Pharmaceutical brands, for example, can easily fall prey to attacks online. For brands launching new products, keeping an eye on those keywords is essential to ensuring that the launch goes smoothly.

One sensitive topic for companies that deliver packages is how their employees handle the goods. FedEx was faced with a crisis management challenge when a video of an employee carelessly tossing a package went viral. FedEx VP Matthew Thornton provided a speedy response to the crisis with a candid and honest apology in a YouTube video that was shared over 50,000 times.