How Facebook says you should handle a social crisis


Why not take it from the horse’s mouth?

A couple years ago, the CMO of a major restaurant chain called me in a midnight panic. A server got fired for complaining about their new uniforms. So he ranted about getting fired on YouTube. Unbeknownst to management, he had 40,000 YouTube followers.

Should they respond to him or ignore it?

Common sense is not common. So check out what advice Facebook themselves has to say when you have a problem on their hands.

God forbid that you are an airliner or film studio in crisis. But when it happens to you or a client, here are some key points:

If you messed up, own up quickly.

The public is too smart for PR spin.

Notice how Edelman, the granddaddy of all PR agencies, got a black eye in trying to take advantage of Robin Williams’ death?

2015-01-05 19_59_36-Edelman Has Some Thoughts on Using Robin Williams’ Death to Pitch - PRNewser

Respond immediately.

This way you get ahead of the rumor mill.

By being transparent and quick, the public and your loyal customers are quite willing to forgive you.

If you’ve been practicing solid content management, you’ve effectively made “deposits” in your customers’ bank accounts. So when there’s a crisis, a large withdrawal won’t cause you to go negative — fans will support you.

This is a good reason to have your social power built up well in advance of the crisis. Get your social team regularly in contact with your top fans — it drives sales and is a prophylactic for troubles.

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Tron Jordheim has the following tips to add to your crisis preparedness kit:

  1. Know that crises WILL happen so be ready.
  2. Have guidelines in place that will empower frontline people to deal correctly with the issue immediately.
  3. Take a professional and friendly tone even with loud or difficult people.
  4. Find as much information as you can without  saying too much.

Jenny Brennan says:

10460990_758039064278551_4661853648143758401_nOne of the biggest fears business owners representing themselves on Facebook have is a social media crisis or attack. As long as things are going well, everyone is happy. The reality, however is that there are people who feel more comfortable airing their complaints via a Facebook page. What if this happens to your business? Our advice is to deal with it like any other complaint. Acknowledge the customer (not liability) by responding to their comment on Facebook.

Do NOT delete the complaint. Transparency is so important and other people looking at your response will value how you handle customer service if you are open. Encourage the complainant to make contact with vie email or direct message so that you can contact them and try to take the complaint offline and away from Facebook!

What’s your top recommendation for handling a social crisis?

Top image courtesy of Shutterstock.